75th anniversary of outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising
On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising, Museum Director Dr. Piotr M. A. Cywiński paid homage to its heroes and victims, including nearly 13 thousand citizens of the capital deported by the Germans to the Auschwitz camp. On August 1st at 5 o’clock p.m. – the “W” hour marking the beginning of the fights – he laid a wreath by the Death Wall at the courtyard of Block 11 in the former Auschwitz I camp.
The history of the Warsaw Uprising is tightly connected with the history of German Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz. “While commemorating the Warsaw Uprising, we not only have to remember this heroic act, but also the tragedy of tens of thousands of families who – usually through Dulag 121 in Pruszków, many times losing all they had – were sent to concentration camps and slave labor.13 thousand people, including children and even infants, arrived to Auschwitz by several transports”, said Director Piotr Cywiński.
During the Warsaw Uprising and after it being suppressed, the Germans deported ca. 550 thousand citizens of Warsaw and about 100 thousand of those living in the nearest vicinity of the city. They were directed to Durchgangslager 121, transit camp established specially for this purpose in Pruszków near Warsaw. 55 thousand were sent to concentration camps.
The fate of those deported to Auschwitz after the outbreak of the Uprising in Warsaw is described among others by the special exhibition prepared by the Museum at Google Cultural Institute as well as in the 10th volume from the educational series Voices of Memory.
Transports of Poles from Warsaw to KL Auschwitz after the outbreak of the Uprising
After the outbreak of the armed Uprising in Warsaw, nearly 13 thousand arrested Warsaw citizens – men, women and children – were deported to KL Auschwitz in August and September 1944 through the transit camp in Pruszków. They were incarcerated within the premises of Auschwitz II-Birkenau.
Among the deportees there were representatives of different social backgrounds, professions (civil servants, scientists, artists, doctors, merchants, manual workers), physical condition (the injured, the ill and the disabled, pregnant women), those at different age – starting from infants of only a few weeks up to the elderly aged over 86. In some rare cases there were also the representatives of other nations, with Jews hiding with so called Aryan papers among them.
The biggest transports arrived in Auschwitz on August 12th and 13th with in total nearly 6 thousand deportees (including about 4 thousand women and 2 thousand men, and over 1 thousand children and teenagers of both sexes among them).
On September 4th, the next transport of women, men and children arrived to Auschwitz from Pruszków, including 3087 deportees. In the next two transports, on September 13th and 17th, apart from three women, nearly 4 thousand men and boys were brought to the camp. The majority of them were after a few up to a dozen weeks transported within the inaugurated initial evacuation of KL Auschwitz into the camps deep inside the Third Reich to work in the arms industry. A lot of them perished in these camps.
In January 1945, at least 602 women with children (including those born in the camp) were transported to the camps in Berlin in January 1945. Part of the inmates from these Warsaw camps were evacuated from the camp in January 1945. Some of them died during “death marches”, other lived to see the liberation of camps inside the Reich. At least 400 members of transports from Pruszków, including at least 125 children and teenagers, survived until the liberation.
The Museum prepared a special online lesson devoted to the transports from the Warsaw Uprising to Auschwitz.
Memorial Book published by the Museum in 2000 is devoted to the memory of the Poles deported to KL Auschwitz from the so called Warsaw district, entitled Transports of Poles from Warsaw to KL Auschwitz 1940-1944. It also includes the names of Warsaw citizens sent to the camp in connection with the outbreak of the Uprising known to historians.
Voices of Memory 10. From the Warsaw Uprising to KL Auschwitz
With this publication we would like to recall the fate of those citizens of the Polish capital who were in August and September 1944 deported to KL Auschwitz II-Birkenau. There were nearly 13 thousand of them: men, women and children. Their way to Birkenau led from Warsaw through the transit camp in Pruszków. In Birkenau, they would leave the transport on the infamous railway ramp and were after registration placed in prisoners barracks. They represented various social backgrounds and professions; among them there were doctors, clerks, workers, artists, scientists. Rarely, Jews using so called Aryan papers could be encountered. This edition of the “Voices of Memory” constitutes the occasion to make the fate of this group of camp victims closer to the readers as well as to present a broader historical perspective connected with the Uprising itself, with the functioning of the transit camp in Pruszków as well as the fate of prisoners from Warsaw after their evacuation from Auschwitz-Birkenau. We believe that this publication will in an important way complete the knowledge about the Warsaw Uprising and the fate of civilians in the capital. In addition, it constitutes some kind of homage to all Warsaw citizens deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. It is also a good educational tool used at school and outside it.
Childhood behind barbed wire
In April 2007, new and extended edition of the collection of short stories about the children in Auschwitz entitled Childhood behind barbed wire, which was reprinted already numerous times, was published. It is one of the most moving documents concerning the tragic fate of Auschwitz prisoners and a shocking presentation of the camp seen by a child from Warsaw brought to Auschwitz. Its author Bogdan Bartnikowski, at the age of 12, participated as a runner in uprising fights in the Warsaw district of Ochota. On August 12th 1944, he was transported to Auschwitz together with his mother.