70th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising outbreak
On the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising outbreak, dr Piotr M.A. Cywiński, Director of Auschwitz Museum, paid tribute to the heroes and victims of the Uprising, including thousands of inhabitants of capital deported to Auschwitz. He laid a wreath under the Wall of Death five o’clock sharp – at the same hour when the uprising started.
The story of the Uprising is inseparably entwined with the story of former the Nazi German Auschwitz concentration camp. Both during the Uprising and after its suppression, the Germans deported from Warsaw over 500 000 inhabitants as part of the repressive action. About 13 000 of those people, including babies, children and elderly people, were placed in KL Auschwitz.
“The debate about the point and the essence of the Warsaw Uprising will never end. Warsaw paid an enormous price for its surge for freedom,” emphasised dr Piotr M.A. Cywiński. “For many families, the Warsaw Uprising is directly linked with Auschwitz. Over ten thousand Warsaw inhabitants, including children, were brought to the Birkenau ramp in four huge transports from Dulag 121 in Pruszków. They were leaving cattle trucks and stepping on the same platform where huge transports of Hungarian Jews had arrived just a few weeks earlier. “Warsaw” passed through the same ramp,” said Cywiński.
In order to commemorate those events, the Museum prepared an outdoor exhibition entitled “Population of Insurrectionary Warsaw in KL Auschwitz.” The author of the exhibition is Helena Kubica from the Research Center of the Museum. It will be available for visitors in front of the entrance to the Memorial Site until 2 October.
Transports of Poles from Warsaw to Auschwitz after the outbreak of the Uprising
After the outbreak of the armed Uprising in Warsaw, nearly 13 thousand Warsaw residents, including men, women and children, were arrested and deported through the transit camp in Pruszków to Auschwitz in August and September 1944. They were imprisoned within the area of Auschwitz II-Birkenau.
These included people from different social backgrounds, different professions (government officials, scientists, artists, doctors, merchants, labourers), different physical conditions (the wounded, sick, disabled, pregnant women), those of all ages — children from several weeks old to infants and even those above eighty-six years of age. In a few cases, there were also people of other nationalities, including the Jews hiding on the Aryan papers.
The largest transports arrived in Auschwitz on 12 and 13 August, totalling almost six thousand people (including approx. four thousand females and two thousand males, and among them, more than one thousand children and young people of both sexes).
On 4 September, another transport from Pruszków brought 3,087 men, women and children to Auschwitz. In two transports on 13 and 17 September, nearly four thousand men and boys, along with three women, were transported. Most of these people were transferred after several weeks or months, as part of the preliminary evacuation of Auschwitz, to the camps deep within the Third Reich to work in the armaments industry. Many died in these camps.
In January 1945, five transports with at least 602 women and children (including children born in the camp) were sent to camps in Berlin. Some prisoners from the above-mentioned Warsaw transports were evacuated in January 1945 from the camp. Some died in the "death marches," and others survived until liberation in other camps within the Reich. At least 298 inhabitants of Warsaw (men, women and children) lived to see the liberation of KL Auschwitz.
Księga Pamięci. Transporty Polaków z Warszawy do KL Auschwitz 1940-1944 [Memorial Book: Transports of Poles from Warsaw to Auschwitz Concentration Camp 1940-1944] is devoted to the remembrance of Poles deported to Auschwitz from the Warsaw district. It contains all the names of residents of Warsaw by the Germans in connection with the outbreak of the Uprising that historians have managed to trace.
Memoirs of a Child of the Uprising
In 2007 the Museum published a new and expanded edition of the often reprinted collection of stories about children in Auschwitz that was published under the title Dzieciństwo w pasiakach [Childhood in Stripes] . It is one of the most moving documents about the tragic fate of Auschwitz prisoners and a disturbing image of the camp as seen through the eyes of a child. Its author, Bogdan Bartnikowski, participated at the age of twelve as a courier in insurgent fighting in Ochota. He and his mother were deported to Auschwitz on August 12, 1944.