Hanke internment camp

New plaque to commemorate Hanke internment camp.

Thursday 17.05.2018 09:17

A new plaque is being created to commemorate the former Hanke internment camp in Ostrava, where mainly German prisoners were held in May and June 1945. A total 231 prisoners died at the camp as a result of maltreatment or extrajudicial executions. The plaque will form part of a memorial to be installed at the site of the camp during June of this year.

Hanke tábor

Photograph taken from the tower of the Jindřich coal mine in the 1930s. At the bottom right are the premises of the Hanke transport company. Photograph: Ostrava City Archives.

The internment camp was set up in May 1945 at the site of the Hanke transport company near the Jindřich coal mine (today the area between the former mine and the Albert supermarket). It was used to hold Germans and those suspected of having collaborated with the Nazi occupying forces during the Second World War – including relatives, women and children. The internees were subjected to brutal treatment by the camp guards, who even carried out extrajudicial executions. A total of 600 men and 100 women passed through the camp, and 231 did not survive the ordeal.

Ostrava’s Mayor Tomáš Macura gave more details: “We held a competition for the design of a memorial to be installed at the site of the former camp. We received 17 entries, but in the end the jury did not choose any of them. They were considered too avant-garde, and they were not suitable for a site that is surrounded by buildings.”

Instead, the City decided to install a plaque to commemorate the Hanke camp, as Mayor Macura explained: “It will be very simple and sober, mounted at ground level. It will bear an inscription created by students at the Olga Havlová Secondary School. There will be a QR code on the plaque, enabling people to find out more about the camp – including a full list of the names of those who died there.”