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Zdeněk Kovařík (1931) - Audio/video gallery

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The Camp “L”: “Tower of Death”

“The camp ‘L’, where uranium ore was processed, consisted of two barracks – one for administration, second for prisoners. Around 150 slept there. Just over the fence the processing unit stood. All uranium ore mined in Czechoslovakia was brought to this unit: the ill-known “Tower of Death” stood there. Uranium ore was sorted depending on its quality. The richest ore was pulverized to small pieces and loaded into barrels. Loading was exhausting, because each barrel had to contain 60 kilos of ore. There existed differences in ore quality, therefore the less rich ore was lighter and prisoners had to press it down with big hammers. I had worked there approximately five months. Then the ‘technology’ was improved by some primitive shaker, but it didn’t help much. Now the working conditions changed into a dust nightmare. We had no respirators, no goggles. Permanently someone got ill with conjunctivitis. Each small abrasion festered. My hand was completely covered with boils. The ore processing unit was one of the worst working places. In winter with freezing temperatures 15 degrees below zero, six guys stood few meters away from doors half striped naked. Hammering the ore into barrels was extremely strenuous, so if we worked dressed in our shirts, within five minutes the shirts were wringing wet. Not to take the shirts off was impossible, because in draught shirts got frozen.”



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