Ljubelj south concentration camp, branch of Mauthausen
Memorial park and room of remembrance
The memorial of national significance which is the Ljubelj concentration camp is an extensive area with the remains of the foundations of the concentration camp: the huts, bathrooms, kennel, clinic, kitchens, all marked with signs. At the locations where the watchtowers once stood, larch trees have been planted and where the camp perimeter fence once stood, spruce trees now grow. In the cellar of the former kitchen, a memorial room has taken shape over the years which is dedicated to all the victims of concentration camps.
On the other side of the road in the memorial room of the Ljubelj concentration camp there is a display of objects from the camp including clothes, shoes, tools, documentation connected with the camp etc. A special place in the exhibition is dedicated to those who were killed in the camp. The exhibition explains the Nazi concentration camp system and presents documentation connected with the functioning of the camp.
Outline of the history of the concentration camp
The history of the concentration camp
The Ljubelj south concentration camp began functioning on 3 June 1943 and was liberated on 7 May 1945. Nazi Germany set it up to provide the workforce for the construction of the tunnel under the Ljubelj pass in order to allow a better strategic road connection with the Adriatic. Around 1,800 prisoners of different nationalities were brought to the camp from the central camp of Mauthausen. They included Jews but most, more than half of all the interns were French, followed by Poles, Russians, Yugoslavs, Czechs, Slovaks, Spaniards, Italians, Greeks, Belgians and others.
Interns were subject to the terror of the SS-men and the kapos, slave labour in the worst possible working conditions, undernourishment and lack of medical care. The 1,542 metre long tunnel was dug in 8 months. Sick, exhausted or punished workers were sent back to Mauthausen where most of them were killed. 40 prisoners died at Ljubelj and they were cremated in the primitive crematory.
Beside the concentration camp stood a camp for civilian workers who were mainly local people from Tržič and Podljubelj. Workers from other parts of Gorenjska were also sent to work at Ljubelj. In the time of the tunnel construction around 600 of them were at Ljubelj.