Pustkow is a small village located in the south-east of Poland. Originally, the German occupation administration had planned to build there a huge SS training camp, including shops and military installations. In order to do build a first work camp, 15 villages were evacuated by force and burned. The first prisoners arrived in 1940, most of them were Jews coming from every regions of Poland. Due to the terrible conditions of life in this first camp, most of these prisoners died in the next months. The survivors were executed.
In 1941, the German forces built a camp for the Russian prisoners of war. The camp had no barrack or building so the Russian prisoners had to sleep on the ground without any protection. There was no food distribution and, in order to prevent any escape, the prisoners were forced to remove their uniforms. During the winter 1941-1942 (one of the rudest winter ever seen in Europe), these prisoners stayed outside, without any place to sleep and only wearing underwear. It is proved that many prisoners were eating grass or roots in order to survive. Most of these prisoners died during the winter and the survivors were executed.
In September 1942, the Nazi administration built a third camp dedicated for the Polish workers. The conditions of life in this last camp were the same than in the two others. These prisoners were forced to work on the development of the rocket V2.
In spite of the terror regime created by the German occupation administration, a Polish partisan organization succeeded in an incredible action: the capture of an intact V2 rocket. This rocket had been launched for a test flight. The test failed and the rocked fell but didn't exploded. The Polish partisans succeed to retrieve the rocket intact, to transfer it secretly to Warsaw and to evacuate the rocket to London by an English plane.
In the beginning of August 1944, the three camps were totally evacuated and destroyed. All the survivors were transferred to other camps. The total amount of victims of Pustkow is unknown, but there were probably more than 15.000 people killed in this place.
Sources: The Forgotten Camps