Underground exposition „The Richard mine through the ages“
„The Richard mine through the ages“ is the name of the exhibition, which was opened in about 80 metres long underground corridor under the Litomerice town hall.
At first, limestone quarried down the Richard mine, during the Second World War the Nazis built a secret factory here, then it served as a storage space and now its part serves as a nuclear waste dump. The exhibition is divided into four parts. The last one is the study of young architect Philip Landa, entitled "Orchard of reconciliation". This study is looking to the future and brings a proposal to build a memorial to the victims of the Nazi factory.
After you enter to the underground, you will track the history of mine Richard, which is situated in a nearby Bídnice hill and is not accessible to public. The exposition is divided to three sections according to the real history of Richard mine. It was at a place where limestone was mined at first, after that the Nazis set up a factory there and nowadays this place serves as a nuclear waste dump. Each section of the exhibition points out one period. No doubt that the darkest one was the end of World War II.
In those times, 4500 prisoners died in Richard during the slavery work for German arms industry.
The atmosphere is illustrated by historical photograps, signs, iron mine wagon or spilled stones.
Only guided tours are possible.
May to September MO-SU from 10 AM to 4 PM
November to April MO- FRI from 10 AM to 4 PM
The Underground factory Richard (the exact Nazi name is B5-Richard) is a system of three former deep limestone quarries (known as Richard I., Richard II and Richard III.) Near Litomerice under the Radobyl and Bidnice hills in Ceske stredohori, which the Nazis rebuilt during World War II on a secret underground factory destined for arms production.
It is a spatially extensive complex of underground spaces in the total length (which is estimated only approximately) between 25 and 30 kilometers. It is the largest underground factory from the Second World War on the Czech territory.
The construction of the factory was started by the Nazis already in the middle of 1944 and the planned completion of its construction was set for August 1945. The work involved deploying 1200 civilian employees, including the so-called total personnel.
There were several thousand prisoners (about 4,000 a day), both from a nearby concentration camp in Terezin (about 4 km southeast), as well as prisoners from the smaller concentration camp in Litomerice, a branch of the Flossenbürg Concentration Camp.
The fact that it was a very large building and an important building for the Third Reich is also testified by the fact that the building had its own industrial water line drawn from the Elbe River, its own gas connection, two narrow-gauge railway tracks, a regular railway gondola and a number of other auxiliary facilities and technical facilities in the underground and on the surface. A number of construction and mining machines and many other specialized mechanisms have been involved in the work. The construction and overall supervision of all workers was commissioned by the armed Nazi SS organization. The last construction works were on May 4, 1945.
Already in the autumn of 1944, underground production halls began to serve their purpose, producing components of internal combustion engines for tanks and tank fighters. By the end of the war, part of the production of the electrons, in the Richard II complex, was moved here. the production of material for further electrotechnical production should begin.
The Nazis further planned for the Richard III complex. to move part of the production of fuel for the state-of-the-art Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighters. The rocket fuel production has long been speculated and this theory has never been fully confirmed, but the vacuum tubes have almost certainly been used for bulk production of guidance and radar systems used primarily in aviation.
On 5 May 1945, the local concentration camp prisoners were released, this was the only concentration camp that had not been liberated but allegedly voluntarily dissolved by the Nazis themselves, but there was also great chaos, confusion and nervousness caused by the approaching end of the war. On May 7, 1945, the Nazis attempted to blow up the entire Richard complex at the last minute, using allegedly up to 4 kilometers of electric power that might have reached somewhere near the Terezin Crossroads. It has not yet been fully explained why the explosion did not occur at all.
Electricity was probably cut off at the last minute by one of the Polish laborers. Litomerice including the construction and factory of Richard were liberated by the Red Army on May 7, 1945.
A post-war search for the Richard factory was written even a whole book, the author of which was then the Red Army intelligence officer, Marie Alexandrovna Fortus. Her account of finding a Richard factory is not considered by many researchers to be entirely credible. Perhaps the most notable part of the book is the description of the interior of the underground factory.
Litomerice concentration camp history and crematorium
The death rate in the Litomeric concentration camp and underground factory Richard was very high. Only 4,500 prisoners perished in Litomìøice for one year. The enormous increase in mortality occurred in the winter of 1944 and the spring of 1945, when a typhoid epidemic broke out.
The dead initially drove to cremation into Usti nad Labem and the Terezin crematorium.
These two crematorias were not enough to burn the increased "charge" of the bodies.
At the end of the war, there was also a shortage of diesel used in the Terezin crematorium for furnace heating. On the other hand, it was hard to explain in the Usti crematorium why some bodies are in a state that is not quite common. There was a need for another solution ...
The Reich German Fritz suggested that one of the buildings of the Litomerice brick - the former brick kiln - was used to build the crematorium.
From the camp, the crematorium was about one kilometer away.
The construction was commenced in February 1945. The plan of the crematorium was prepared by architect Naumann. The construction was carried out by a working group of the BSA, which consisted of total deployed civilian workers and prisoners of the Litomìøice camp. Inside the crematorium, two coke-heated furnaces were built, a furnace space was also in the furnace space.
No one knew at that time that a small, inconspicuous building next to a brick that had previously been used to dry bricks was actually a crematorium.
Everything was masked, among other things, by the fact that smoke was fed through the underground channel into the brick chimney which was in normal operation. Only a few insiders knew that brick smoke was mixed with the smoke from the crematorium.
Next to the furnace room there was a smaller room that served as the "warehouse" of the dead.
It was actually a concrete rectangular surface with a slightly sloping floor on which the bodies were equalized.
Just next to this morgue, an autopsy was built, but it was not completed.
The construction of the crematorium lasted one and a half months, and in mid-March 1945 the crematorium was put into trial operation. Permanent traffic started in April 1945.
The crematorium was operated by Václav Pritzl. He came from Litomerice and his house was next to a brick and a crematorium. He was assigned a squad of five prisoners. After the war, in his testimony before the court he stated that he had cremated thirty to forty bodies daily, but according to his private scribes, he burned 405 or 406 bodies in total. Pritzl was paid 75 Pf for his "job." in an hour…
The last bodies cremated by the crematorium were brought on 2 and 3 May 1945 after a large execution in the Terezín Small Fortress – 53 people.
From the headquarters of KT Litomerice he supervised the Obersturmführer Huber SS crematorium.
Ash outside the building crashed into smaller parts. He was initially credited with a crematorium and was later placed in a pit that was next to the crematorium.
After the war, an ash of burned victims was found during mining in one habitat.
Nationalities of prisoners of the concentration camp Litomìøice
Thousands of people have crossed the camp.
The number of prisoners was different, but probably and the highest number of prisoners was 23 February 1945 - 7,046 prisoners.
The ethnic composition of the prisoners was really varied, but most of the prisoners of the Polish nationality were represented.
According to the documents of the Central State Archives of Prague we can report from KT Flossenbürg report to the State Minister K. H. Frankov, the Reich Protector Fund, that:
As of July 8, 1944, the national composition according to the number of prisoners was as follows:
1. Poles 681
2. Russians 520
3. Yugoslavians 169
4. Italians 81
5. Germans 19
6. Greeks 14
7. Czechs 14
8. French 6
9. Luxembourgers 1
10. Others 1
A total of 1506 people
As of 28 February 1945, the national composition according to the number of prisoners was as follows:
1. Poles 2 597
2. Russians 973
3. Maïari 238
4. Yugoslavians 175
5. Litevci 137
6. Germans 115
7. French 103
8. Italians 84
9. Czechs 73
10. Greeks 52
11. Croatians 16
12. Dutchmen 14
13. Rumuni 4
14. Slovaks 4
15. Belgians 2
16. Latvians 2
17. Albanians 1
18. Spaniards 1
19. without nationality 9
20. Nationality N / A 1 906
A total of 6,506 people (of which 745 Jewish prisoners).
At the Litomerice camp, the women's squad was also imprisoned.
On April 6, 1945, transport from the Ravensbrück concentration camp was dispatched to 300 prisoners. What was their job determination and destiny so far unable to reliably determine.
The management of "outdoor" concentration camp branches had a similar structure to the administration of tribal concentration camps that SS staff were assigned to in outdoor outlets. In the case of the Litomerice concentration camp, these were officers and non-commissioned officers from the Flossenbürg tribal camp. The SS-Fürungsstab B5 was also affected by the camp's management, which was also reflected in a few appeals by the camp commander.
This was the case with the first commander (Lagerkommandanta) SS-Hauptscharführer Schreiber, who was revoked at the request of SS-Fürungsstab B5 (allegedly for leniency to prisoners).
He took the place, Oberscharführer von Berg. After just two months (June and July 1944), SS-Fürungsstab was disqualified for disagreements. At this time, KT Litomerice made the first attempts to escape and the first executions were carried out ...
The SS Oberstumführer Volkner becomes the third camp commander (July - November 1944).
In November 1944, he took over the post of SS-Obersturmführer Heiling, who is in command until the end of February.
Heiling had a tough regime in the camp and often involved in the abuse of prisoners and also led his subordinates. In November 1944, when an attempt was made to escape the prisoners, Heling sent Borneman, who shot a Czech prisoner, that he did not shoot him, because he is far better when he sees a hundred shot dead than a shot, mutilated prisoner who has nothing to do with him ...
The Heling left the camp because of he was infected by a spotted typhoid.
His successor and last commander was SS-Untersturmführer Beno Brückner, who in no respect did not fit with his predecessor.
The deputy of the camp commander was the Lagerführer, who oversaw the camp's internal course, and assigned prisoners to the cap and block functions. In this position, SS-Hauptscharführer Willi Czibulka, SS-Hauptscharführer Kurt Pannicke and SS-Oberscharführer Karl Opitz were replaced.
The incineration of dead prisoners in temporary incinerators is testified, among other things, by this report from Litomìøice:
"Investigation of the local office revealed that former political prisoners, either executions or torture in a concentration camp
in Terezin or at the "Richard" and "Esla B" races in Litomìøice, were burned in a temporary crematorium in Litomìøice
and stock bricks in Michalovická Street 14.
Since December 1944, the crematorium has been building former political prisoners working in the "Elsa B" and "Richard" races. It lies on the southeast
brick side, it is a small house in the dimensions of 20 x 8 m with a high chimney. The building has two entrances and is surrounded by 2 m high
In the crematorium until May 1945 he was employed as a healer by Vaclav Pritzl, a German nationality, in the Litomìøice dwelling, which became
in 1937 an organized SDP member and since 1939 a member of the NSDAP.
The crematorial construction was designed and directed by the German Reich Fritz of Berlin who ordered Pritzl to put the ashes and bones back into the furnace. That's right Pritzl did only once, then dug a grave behind the crematorium, in which he cleaned the ashes and bones.
Different parts of the bloody clothing were found in place, murdered on one blouse, white isosceles triangle
No. 24014. The SS officers and guards were probably in charge of burning the pit, as liquor bottles were found in the crematorium.
Access to the facility was strictly forbidden, the guard service was carried out by members of SS who frequently used firearms.
then it could not be written ...............................
Pritzl worked about 10-12 hours a day, even on Sunday, with a pay of 7.20 CZK per hour. According to his testimony, the crematorium burned a total of 30-40 inmates a day.
Further investigation in the vicinity of the Crematorium found that it was often at night to hear shooting at certain intervals, from which it can be concluded that some victims were
executed directly in front of or in the vicinity of the crematorium.
Prisoners of the Small Fortress of Terezin
The first transport of prisoners for work in the Richard Underground factory in Litomerice arrived on 25 March 1944 from the Dachau concentration camp to the city of Terezín. The transport was temporarily placed in the police prison of the Prague Gestapo in the Small Fortress of Terezin at the time the third courtyard was fully vacated for this transport.
On 14 April 1944, the prisoners of this transport received a new Flossenbürg prison number from the series 7141 - 7640.
Of the 500 inmates, the Russians, Italians, Poles and the French were the most prisoners of Slovenian nationality.
The Flossenbürg tribal camp was then led by Terezin as the external commando. There is no mention of further transport from the Flossenbürg KT, which was a commando of about 40 prisoners - mostly radio technicians who were designated for the SS Hauptamt in Lovosice, later referred to as the "Lobositz Commando".
Prisoners were dragged from the Small Fortress by trucks into Litomerice, where they worked in an underground factory and in the modifications of the former artillery barracks under Radobyl, where a concentration camp was built. In June 1944, prisoners from KT Dachau, it was the transport from 25 March 1944, were transferred from Terezin to the then-established camp in Litomerice. The outdoor Flossenburg branch ceased to exist.
However, the prisoners of the Small Fortress of Terezin are still being sent to the construction of the underground factory Richard. And that's 700 - 800 people a day, who switched in two shifts and were focused on IV. courtyard. The factory was also working on Saturday, when another commander was calm and did not leave the work of the Small Fortress. Terezin prisoners were not allowed to join Litomerice prisoners, but despite the danger of beating, they had come to an end.
Prisoners from the Small Fortress worked in Richards after twelve hours shifts. One left after the morning "call", the other after the evening. In all weathers they left several buses or left the fortress via Litomerice to Bidnice. The journey lasted for an hour and a half. The colony, which was the most numerous of all the commanders, was accompanied by the SS from the Small Fortress.
Pfaffenhof villa – the headoffice of SS – Führungsstab Komando B5
About half a mile south of the entry portal to Richard I, underground factory in the bushes at the side of the road leading to the top, see Radobyl hill isolated turrets, chimneys and pathetic the timber roof. And here, illustrious plunderer slowly deteriorating the Pfaff family villa in the 40th and the 50th of the 19th century the architect Ignaz A. Gaube designed and bulit.
Citizens Litomerice know this structure, under the name ‘ Fafák ’. By the way this is derived from Pfaff, the first owner of this building, and the building occupied until at least the beginning of the second world war. This building Litomerice citizens may, however, remember the name Veveri."
Here is the name derived from the“ owner ” – a national administrator of the squirrel, who managed in the postwar period.
The war was the SS – Führungsstab Commando B5, that had its “mill” antenna of Richard I, not far from the entrance. During WWII the gestapo used the cellars of villa to interogate and torture prisoners.
The building is falling apart at the present.