76th anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising
At exactly 5.00 p.m. – “W” hour starting the insurgent fights in Warsaw - the director of the Museum, Piotr M.A. Cywiński, PhD laid a wreath at the Death Wall in the courtyard of Block 11 in the former Auschwitz I camp, paying tribute to almost 13,000 inhabitants of the capital deported to Auschwitz by the Germans.
“We associate the uprising with the heroic spurt of the Home Army and some other military formations. However, we must bear in mind the unimaginable number of victims that resulted from the brutal suppression of the uprising. Several thousand residents of Warsaw were led to Auschwitz via Durchgangslager 121 in Pruszków. Others also ended up in Stutthof and several other camps,” said director Piotr Cywiński.
The history of Auschwitz, the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp, is inextricably intertwined with the history of the Warsaw Uprising. During the Warsaw Uprising and after its suppression, the Germans deported approx. 550,000 people from Warsaw and about 100,000 people from the areas surrounding the city. They were sent to a specially established transit camp in Pruszków near Warsaw, Durchgangslager 121. Fifty-five thousand people were transported to concentration camps.
Transports of Poles from Warsaw to KL Auschwitz after the outbreak of the Uprising
After the outbreak of the armed Uprising in Warsaw, in August and September 1944 nearly 13,000 arrested residents of Warsaw, men, women and children, were deported to KL Auschwitz via the transit camp in Pruszków. They were imprisoned at the Auschwitz II-Birkenau camp.
Among the transported were people from various social backgrounds, various professions (government officials, scientists, artists, doctors, traders, workers), in various physical condition (wounded, sick, invalids, pregnant women), of various ages - children ranging from infants several weeks old to elderly people over eighty-six years old. In a few cases, they were also people of other nationalities, including Jews hiding behind so-called Aryan papers.
The most numerous transports to Auschwitz arrived on August 12 and 13, when nearly 6,000 people in total were brought in (including about 4 thousand women and 2 thousand men, over 1 thousand children and adolescents of both sexes).
On September 4, another transport of 3,087 women, men and children was brought to Auschwitz from Pruszków. In the next two transports on September 13 and 17, apart from three women, almost 4,000 men and boys were brought in. The majority of people in these transports were transferred after a few or a dozen weeks, as part of the initial evacuation of KL Auschwitz, to camps in the depths of the Third Reich and employed in the arms industry. Many died in these camps.
In January 1945, at least 602 women with children (including children born in the camp) were taken to camps in Berlin in five transports. Some prisoners from the above-mentioned Warsaw transports were evacuated from the camp in January 1945. Some of them died during the “death marches”, others lived to see liberation in camps deep in the Reich. At least 400 people transported from Pruszków, including at least 125 children and adolescents, lived to see their liberation.
The fate of the people deported to Auschwitz after the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising is presented, among others, in a special exhibition prepared by the Museum at the Google Cultural Institute and volume 10 of the Voices of Memory educational series.
The museum has also prepared a special online lesson about transports from insurgent Warsaw to Auschwitz.
In 2000 “Memorial Book. Transports of Poles from Warsaw to Auschwitz 1940-1944” was published by the Museum in memory of Poles deported to KL Auschwitz from the so-called Warsaw District. It also contains the names of the residents of Warsaw known to historians, sent to the camp in connection with the outbreak of the Uprising.
Voices of Memory 10. From the Warsaw Upraising to Auschwitz
With this publication we wish to recall the fate of the residents of the Polish capital who were deported to KL Auschwitz II-Birkenau in August and September 1944. There were nearly 13,000 of them: men, women and children. Their road to Birkenau led from Warsaw through the transit camp in Pruszków. In Birkenau, they got off on the inglorious railway ramp, and after registration, they were placed in prisoners’ barracks. The deported came from various social backgrounds, representing various professions: doctors, clerks, workers, artists, scientists. Among the deported there were also a few Jews hiding behind so-called Aryan papers. This edition of “Voices of Memory” constitutes an opportunity to present the fate of this group of camp victims, as well as to present a broader historical perspective related to the Uprising itself, the functioning of the transit camp in Pruszków and the fate of prisoners from Warsaw after their evacuation from Auschwitz-Birkenau. We trust that the publication will become an important supplement to the knowledge about the Warsaw Uprising and the fate of the civilian population of the capital. Moreover, it is a kind of homage paid to all residents of Warsaw deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. It is also a good educational tool used in schools and in extracurricular education.
Childhood behind barbed wire
In April 2007, the Museum publishing house also published a new and expanded edition of the repeatedly reissued collection of stories about children in Auschwitz entitled “Childhood behind barbed wire”. It is one of the most moving documents of the tragic fate of Auschwitz prisoners and a shocking image of the camp as seen by a child from Warsaw brought to Auschwitz. Its author, Bogdan Bartnikowski, at the age of 12, as a liaison, participated in the uprising fights in Ochota, Warsaw. On August 12, 1944, he and his mother were taken to Auschwitz.