Majdanek was a Nazi concentration and extermination camp operated by the Schutzstaffel (SS) during the German occupation of Poland in World War II from 1st October 1941 until 22nd July 22 1944 and was used to kill people on an industrial scale.
Majdanek Concentration Camp was located on the outskirts of the city of Lublin and was initially intended for forced labour. It soon became part of Operation Reinhard, the secretive German plan to exterminate Polish Jews in the General Government district of German-occupied Poland.
The 270 hectare camp was one of the largest of the Nazi run death camps with seven gas chambers, two wooden gallows and 227 structures. Unlike other camps, Majdanek was captured nearly intact due to the rapid advance of the Soviet Army; which did not allow the SS sufficient time to destroy the infrastructure and evidence of war crimes.
The concept for Majdanek originated with Heinrich Himmler who was Reichsführer of the SS and a leading architect of the Holocaust. Originally, the camp was used as a work camp housing prisoners from 30 different countries and Soviet prisoners of war. The conditions at the camp were horrific, of the 150,000 people who were imprisoned in Majdanek, 80,000 died, including 60,000 Jews. Many succumbed to disease, starvation and the forced labour.
During the beginning of Operation Reinhard, Majdanek was re-purposed as a sorting and storage depot for property and valuables stolen from the victims at the death camps of Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka. The gas chambers were added to the camp in September 1942; at which time, Majdanek began to function as a killing centre.
The official estimation of the number of victims of Majdanek is 78,000, of those 59,000 were Jews.
In July 1969, on the 25th anniversary of its liberation, a large monument was constructed at the site. It consists of two parts: a large gate monument at the camp’s entrance and a large mausoleum holding ashes of the victims at its opposite end.
For those of you who are staying in Warsaw, we highly recommend a private guided tour to Majdanek Concentration Camp. Your professional guide will take you into the most interesting parts and tell you everything you want to know about it. Your tour is private so it’s you who decide where do you want to go.
Alternatively, if you wish to explore Lublin in addition to Maidanek, then we recommend a full-day private tour to Majdanek Concentration Camp and Lublin from Warsaw.
After your guide picks you up from your hotel, you will head to the Majdanek concentration and extermination camp, located just outside of the city of Lublin. Originally, it was supposed to be bigger than the infamous Auschwitz and plans were implemented to make it a slave labor source for the creation of a new empire in the east. Here the daunting stories of the premises from your personal guide. After a lunch break, you will have the opportunity to discover Lublin – a beautiful city rich in history, where Western and Eastern Worlds meet. During its golden ages, Lublin was a wealthy city, full of the aristocracy’s impressive palaces, amazing sacral architecture and tenement houses. Found out why it also carries the nicknames “Little Cracow”, “Vienna of the North”, “Little Jerusalem” and decide yourself which one is most fitting for this pearl of eastern Poland.