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L'appel avant le lever du jour
Mahn- und Gedenkstätte Ravensbrück
The poem was written by Halina Golczowa in Ravensbrück in 1942/43 and smuggled out of the camp with other poems and documents.
© Staatliches Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau
SS-owned business "Gesellschaft für Textil- und Lederverwertung mbH (Texled)". This had been located in Ravensbrück since 1941. The production facilities - several tailor shops, weaving mills, a furrier's shop, a knitting mill, an arts and crafts workshop, a repair shop, and a straw shoe and cane mat weaving shop - were located in the so-called Industriehof, an area on the Ravensbrück camp grounds with several large workshops. There, the women had to produce prisoners' clothing, uniforms for the Wehrmacht and SS, and items for the SS's private use.
The city of Neubrandenburg in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania was an important armaments production site during the Nazi era. In the Mechanischen Werkstätten (Mechanical Workshops MWN), around 6,000 prisoners had to perform forced labor for German military production. As part of the inclusion of female concentration camp prisoners from Ravensbrück, the first subcamp was built on Ihlenfelder Strasse in 1943. In 1944, a second underground camp was built in the forest south of Neubrandenburg's city limits so as not to endanger production during bombing raids. In the confined space of the "Waldbau," there were six to seven factory buildings, some above-ground structures and about five prisoner barracks, some of which were dug into the ground, in which about 2,000 female concentration camp prisoners had to live and work.
© Photo: Carsten Büttner, zeitlupe | Stadt.Geschichte & Erinnerung
Dr. phil. Constanze Jaiser
Literature scholar and theologian
Publications on the subject, include:
Poetische Zeugnisse. Gedichte aus dem Frauen-Konzentrationslager Ravensbrück. Stuttgart/Weimar 2000
Europa im Kampf 1939-1944. Internationale Poesie aus dem Frauen-Konzentrationslager Ravensbrück. Berlin 2009
Ein Schmuggelfund aus dem KZ – Erinnerung, Kunst und Menschenwürde. Berlin 2012
1895 - 1979 Angers, France. Studied art in Paris and then worked as a drawing teacher at a girls' school in Angers. Jeanne Letourneau was arrested on March 13, 1943 and deported to Ravensbrück as a "political" prisoner. In February 1945, she was transferred to the Rechlin subcamp, and in 1945, shortly before liberation, she was returned to Ravensbrück. "I weighed 33 kilograms and was 80 years old," she wrote about her physical condition at the time of her liberation. After her return, she wrote an account of her time in Ravensbrück concentration camp, which she accompanied with her drawings. She taught again at the Angers high school until 1955.