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Nazi Labor Camps: Sered

The Jewish Code adopted by Slovakia in 1941 established labor camps for Jews. In the winter of 1941-1942, a team of Jewish craftsmen was sent to a military camp near the town of Sered to prepare the camp for Jewish labor draftees. Before the work was completed, the Slovak authorities began using the camp for Jews being rounded up for deportation to Poland. The Hlinka guard, commanded by Imrich Vasina, oversaw the camp.

Five transports took 4,500 Jews from the Sered camp to Poland. After the last transport, the volume of production was expanded, and the camp profitably supplied manufactured goods both to the civilian market and to government agencies. Conditions for the roughly 1,300 inmates in the camp also improved; workers could get passes to leave the camp, classes were held for children, a pool and athletic field were available for their use, and a variety of cultural activities were permitted. The camp commandant worked with a Jewish council chaired by Alexander Pressburger.

In 1944, an underground was organized in the camp and weapons were smuggled in from the outside. Many Jews left to join the partisans when the camp was opened during the Slovak national uprising in August 1944. Shortly thereafter, however, the Germans seized control of western Slovakia, and the camp was enlarged under the command of Alois Brunner. Over the next several months during the winter of 1944 and spring of 1945, 13,500 Jews were deported from Sered to Auschwitz and Theresienstadt.

The camp was liberated by the Red Army on April 1, 1945.

Sources: Israel Gutman, Ed, Encyclopedia of the Holocaust. Vols. 1-4, NY: Macmillan, 1995.