Events commemorating June 14 with National Patronage of the President of the Republic of Poland
Following the request of the Museum, President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda took National Patronage over the events commemorating the National Day of Remembrance of the Victims of German Nazi Concentration Camps and Extermination Camps that will take place on 14 June at the Auschwitz Memorial. On that day, 80 years ago, Germans deported from Tarnów the first transport of Poles to the newly created concentration camp.
‘In previous years, the main commemoration event consisted of three elements: a Holy Mass at Saint Maximilian’s Center in Harmęże – sacral space particularly connected with the prisoners from the first transport, official commemoration within the historical space by the Witold Pilecki State School of Higher Education in Oświęcim where the first transport had arrived, as well as symbolical homage paid to the Victims of Auschwitz by the Death Wall at the former Auschwitz I camp,’ said Dr. Piotr M.A. Cywiński, the director of the Museum.
Due to the unprecedented situation of the epidemic threat caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the commemoration of the anniversary of the deportation of the first transport of Poles to Auschwitz camp will be different from what was originally planned.
‘Unfortunately, it will not be public, mass commemoration. Many of the planned events, especially the exhibitions, will be moved into the Internet space. We are also preparing a special online lesson on the history of Poles in the German Auschwitz camp. A lot of information will also appear in the social media in order to reach the widest possible audience in the world with the history of the first transport and the beginnings of Auschwitz. The main, however, will be adapted to the limitations resulting from the threat of a pandemic. Together with all the co-organizers, we will be discussing in the coming days how best to commemorate the June anniversary in these extraordinary circumstances," added director Cywiński.
The organizers of commemorative events:
• Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum
• Auschwitz Memento Association
• Bielsko-Żywiec Diocesan Curia
• Castle Museum in Oświęcim
• Department of the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) in Kraków
• Foundation for the Memory of Auschwitz-Birkenau Victims
• Foundation of Memory Sites Near Auschwitz-Birkenau
• Foundation Monument-Hospice for the Town of Oświęcim
• Faith and Truth Foundation
• International Youth Meeting Center in Oświęcim
• Jewish Center in Oświęcim
• Kraków Foundation Center for Information, Meeting, Dialogue, Education and Prayer in Oświęcim
• the town of Oświęcim
• Oświęcim commune
• Oświęcim County Office
• Province of the St. Anthony of Padua and Blessed Jakub Strzemię of the Order of Friars
• Remembrance Museum of Land of Oświęcim Residents
• Roma Association in Poland
• Society for the Protection of Oświęcim (TOnO)
• the town of Tarnów
• Witold Pilecki State School of Higher Education in Oświęcim
On 14 June 1940, the Germans deported a group of 728 Poles from the prison in Tarnów to the concentration camp in Auschwitz. Among the deported prisoners were soldiers of the September campaign, members of the independent underground organizations, school pupils and students, as well as a small group of Polish Jews. They received numbers from 31 to 758 and were placed for the quarantine period in the buildings of the former Polish Tobacco Monopoly, near the site of today's Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum (today, houses the Witold Pilecki State School of Higher Education in Oświęcim).
The first camp numbers were given to German criminals brought earlier by the SS men to Auschwitz from Sachsenhausen concentration camp, who assumed the position of prisoner functionaries.
Out of 728 prisoners deported to KL Auschwitz on 14 June 1940 from Tarnów, 298 survived the war, 272 perished, and the fate of 158 of them remains unknown. Kazimierz Albin, the last witness of the first transport, passed away on 22 July 2019.
After the end of the war, some prisoners got involved in commemorating the tragedy of Auschwitz by publishing their memoirs, presenting accounts or organizing the events dedicated to subsequent anniversaries of the arrival of the first transport to the camp.
Since 2006, 14 June is commemorated in Poland as the National Day of Remembrance of the Victims of German Nazi Concentration Camps and Extermination Camps.