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The Heeres-Kraftfahr-Park 562 in Vilnius

Last Update 15 February 2006

The HKP 562 (Heeres-Kraftfahr-Park / Vehicle Repair Park) was a Wehrmacht military unit that was responsible for the repair and re-establishment of Wehrmacht vehicles.
Main Workshops
Main Workshops
The main HKP 562 works, with its large vehicle repair workshops and its spare parts department, as well as the HKP Headquarters, were located at the eastern outskirts of Vilnius. The HKP 562 also supervised 16 other vehicle workshops, mainly privately directed, which were situated in Vilnius and its surroundings.
The HKP headquarters were located on Olandu Street, opposite the entrance to the main HKP workshops. The HKP "Panzerkaserne" workshops were on Valkovsky Street. A third large workshop was at a former bus depot on Legionowa Street.
Subocz Street Camp
Subocz Street Camp *
The Jewish forced labourers of HKP were housed in two pre-war blocks (of the Jewish-French Philantropist Society, built in 1904) on Subocz Street, about 1.3 km from the HKP main workshops and the HQ. In September 1943, just before the Vilnius Ghetto was to be liquidated, Major Plagge managed to evacuate over 1,000 of his HKP workers and their families from the ghetto to hastily installed workshops at these two blocks. There the "Plagge-Jews" remained in relative protection for the final months before the Red Army liberated Vilnius.

On 1 July 1944, as the Red Army approached Vilnius, Plagge came into the camp and warned the Jews that he and his men would no longer be in charge of the camp and gave the Jews a covert warning that SS killing squads were coming to the camp the next day.
The HKP 562 unit left for Kovno in the early night of 2 July 1944 since they had to leave Vilnius by 3 July in accordance with their orders. Plagge's warning spurred many of the prisoners to immediately go into hiding before the SS arrived.

Ultimately 250 of the "Plagge-Jews" survived until liberation.

The HKP 562 was different from ordinary Wehrmacht units or even SS, SD, and other police units, mainly because it was a specialized “working unit”, solely concerned with the repair and re-establishment of Wehrmacht vehicles. This special field also influenced the structure of the hierarchy in such a way, that in ordinary everyday life the so-called "organizational hierarchy by function" superseded the "military hierarchy by rank". This meant, related to work tasks, that it was possible for someone of a lower military rank to have greater authority than a person of a higher military rank.

See "A Letter from Karl Plagge" !
See "Karl Plagge - A Rescuer of Jews in the Uniform of the German Wehrmacht Lecture of Prof. Dr. Wolfram Wette" !

Photo: GFH *

Thanks to Irmgard Voshaar and
Dr. Michael Good
for documents and support.

© ARC 2005