MEMORIAL AND MUSEUM

AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU

FORMER GERMAN NAZI
CONCENTRATION AND EXTERMINATION CAMP

Polish children

Polish children and young people arrived in the camp in transports of political prisoners. These were people who had cooperated with the resistance movement, who were being held as hostages, or who had been caught in street roundups or crackdowns on Polish youth.

The first transports of Poles to Auschwitz in June, July, and August 1940 included boys of 16 and 17, and a few as young as 14.

There were also Polish children among the people expelled from the Zamość region. Among the more than 1,300 people who arrived in three transports, there were at least 150 children and young people. The fate of the boys was particularly tragic. Almost all of them were murdered by lethal injection of phenol after spending several weeks in the Birkenau men’s camp. Many of the girls from the Zamość transports also died in a short space of time as a result of typhus or starvation, or were selected along with their mothers and sent to the gas chambers.

The next large group of Polish children in the camp came from Warsaw, where they were detained along with adults after the start of the Uprising in August 1944. In August and September, almost 13 thousand people, including at least 1,500 children, young people, and infants, reached Auschwitz by way of the transport camp in Pruszków. 

There were also children among the Poles held in the camp for trial by the summary court for such offenses as food smuggling or escaping from slave labor. As a rule, all the sentences passed by this court were death sentences.