'People of Good Will. Memorial Book of Residents of the Land of Oświęcim who Rendered Aid to the Prisoners of Auschwitz Concentration Camp' Aid for prisoners was one of the ways in which Poles fought against the German occupation regime during the Second World War. It took different forms, in different places. It had particular significance in the case of the prisoners of Auschwitz Concetration Camp, the largest and most horrific of the camps, a place, where Jews, Poles, Roma, Soviet POWs, and people of other ethnic backgrounds suffered and died.
The residents of the Land of Oświęcim did not stand aside and remain passive witnesses to the suffering and death of the prisoners. To a greater or lesser degree, they became involved in helping the prisoners, exposing themselves to tremendous dangers and, usually, putting their very lives at risk. It was necessary to carry out aid operations covertly. Aid to Auschwitz prisoners took various forms. It consisted above all in furnishing them with food, but also with medicine and bandages. In the winter, people attempted to get warm clothing and underwear to the prisoners. However, the help was not confined to the material sphere. It was equally important to make it easier for the prisoners to stay in touch with their families, usually by helping to deliver illicit correnspondence, but there were also cases in which arrangements were made for prisoners to have face-to-face meetings with their loved once.
People helped prisoners who had escaped from the camp, and even played a role in organizing the escapes. Local residents organisations also received documents from the prisoners that revealed the crimes being committed by the SS, and forwarded this evidence to the headquarters of the Polish underground movement. People of Good Will originated in many years of research by Henryk Świebocki, the editor. He devotes nearly 150 pages to the organisations and methods that residents of Oświęcim and the vicinity to help the prisoners.
A list of the names of 1.229 of the people involved is an important part of the book. This list, along with 42 biographical sketches of men and women at the center of the aid movement, reflects the work of a team of Museum staff members who searched the archives at the Museum, local government offices, and parishes. Of no less interest is Świebocki selection of secret messages from inside the camp, and eyewitness accounts by prisoners and the people who came to their aid.
This publication is available in English, German and Polish.