Historical diary come to the Museum


The diary made by prisoners of the German concentration camps: Auschwitz, Dachau and Mauthausen-Gusen, has been donated to the Auschwitz Memorial Site. In this unique, dozen pages notebook are drawings of camp scenes and poems. The diary was offered to the Museum by Eleanor Hensel from California, the wife of U.S. Army Lieutenant Clifford Hensel, who participated in the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps in Germany.

“In gratitude for help of the Poles,” we can read on the first page of the journal, which was handed to Clifford Hensel by the Polish prisoners liberated from Mauthausen. After the war, he returned to America and brought with him this rare gift. For many years, he did not want to be reminded of the tragic history that he witnessed during the war. After his death in 2008, his wife Eleanor took out the diary for the first time and decided to give it to the Auschwitz Memorial Site.

“I believe it is the best museum in the world for these types of collections,” said Eleanor Hensel. “There is another reason, actually the main reason, for which I decided to donate this journal. And that is because it is directly linked to the Poles and relates to their fate. American museums would not be able to adequately tell the tragic fate of these people. These are the memoirs of Polish prisoners, and I think that they should return to Poland to become a part of its history,” Eleanor Hensel underlined.

“Taking into account the post-war fate of the journal and how it came to us after almost 70 years, we are very grateful to the donor for this transfer to our collections. In particular because the Auschwitz Memorial Site is today not only a museum but also a centre of education,” stressed Elżbieta Cajzer, head of the Collections Department of the Auschwitz Museum.

The journal contains five poems by Włodzimierz Wnuk, Konstanty Ćwierk and Grzegorz Timofiejew and nine drawings made by Stefan Ślusarczyk. On one of the cards can also been found the name of Gracjan Guziński, author of music to a poem of Konstanty Ćwierk entitled “Hymn Guzenowców II”.

“Because of its value, not only artistic but also historical, for us it is a very valuable gift,” Elżbieta Cajzer points out. “Due to the object being made of delicate materials, such as paper, it has already been forwarded to our conservation workshops, where experts will assess the state of preservation and prepare a plan for its eventual maintenance. Later, it will be temporarily exhibited alongside other artistic items related to the tragic history of Auschwitz,” said Cajzer.

Authors of the diary

Stefan Ślusarczyk

Born in 1908 in Bęczkowice, arrested 9.08.1942 in Radom, deported to KL Auschwitz on 9 October 1942 from Sipo in Radom and received the camp number 67243. On 13 April 1943, transferred to KL Mauthausen-Gusen (number in Mauthausen: 43183, number in Gusen: 13451).

Grzegorz Timofiejew

Born in 1908 in Łódź. Arrested and deported to Auschwitz on 8 April 1943, where he was given the camp number 112866. On 14 April 1943, transferred to KL Mauthausen-Gusen (number: 44949 and 13984).

Guzinski Grazian (Gracjan)

Born in 1907 in Poznań. Professional musician. Arrested 20 April 1940 by the Stapo in Poznań and deported to Dachau, and later, on 6 June 1940, transferred to KL Mauthausen-Gusen (camp number 3683 and 43266).

Konstanty Ćwierk

Born in 1895 in Sosnowiec. Clerk. Prisoner in KL Dachau and KL Mauthausen-Gusen (camp number 45374). Died 20 August 1944 in Gusen.

Eleanor Hensel gives the diray to Elżbieta Cajzer. Foto: Bartosz Bartyzel
Eleanor Hensel...
Giving the diary to Elżbieta Cajzer. Photo: Bartosz Bartyzel
Giving the diary to...