Online educational session on the 80th anniversary of deportations of Soviet POWs to Auschwitz - 28 October 2021
The International Center for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust and the Center for Polish-Russian Dialogue and Understanding invite everyone to an online education session devoted to the 80th anniversary of the deportations of Soviet prisoners of war to Auschwitz.
The session will be held on 28 October and will be simultaneously translated into English, Russian and Ukrainian.
During the session, Prof. Grzegorz Motyka will give a lecture entitled ‘Tragedy of the Soviet prisoners of war during the World War II in Polish historiography'. The program will also include a panel discussion: ‘Soviet prisoners of war in the Auschwitz, Majdanek and Lamsdorf camps’, as well as a presentation devoted to traces of Soviet prisoners of war at the site of the former Auschwitz-Birkenau camp.
16.00-16.10 – opening of the session
Andrzej Kacorzyk – director of the International Center of Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust
Dr. Ernest Wyciszkiewicz – director of the Center for Polish-Russian Dialogue and Understanding
16.10-16.55 – Lecture: Tragedy of the Soviet prisoners of war during the World War II in Polish historiography
prof. Grzegorz Motyka, Polish Academy of Sciences
17.05-18.05 – Panel discussion: Soviet prisoners of war in the Auschwitz, Majdanek and Lamsdorf camps with:
Beata Siwek-Ciupak - State Museum at Majdanek
Dr. Renata Kobylarz-Buła - Central Museum of the Prisoners of War in Łambinowice-Opole
Dr. Jacek Lechendro - Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum
The discussion will be moderated by Dr. Łukasz Adamski from the Center for Polish-Russian Dialogue and Understanding
18.05-18.20 – Presentation: Traces of the Soviet prisoners of war in KL Auschwitz
Dr. Maria Martyniak, International Center for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust
Participation in the session is free. Please submit your application using the online form by 25 October 2021. After this date we will send you an email with the link to participate in the meeting.
The Germans deported at least 15,000 Soviet prisoners of war to the Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp. The prisoners of war were an exceptional group of victims, as they were the ones who experienced mass executions and mass torture. They were the first to have numbers tattooed on their bodies to replace their names, and they were also the victims of the first attempts to murder people on a mass scale with the poison gas Zyklon B. Our online lesson tells the story of their fate.
'After the start of the war with the Soviet Union, in July or August 1941, a new group of prisoners numbering about 200 people was brought to the camp. Rumors went around the camp that the new arrivals were commissars from territory occupied by the Germans. They wore civilian clothes. These prisoners were treated in an exceptionally inhumane way… I remember that the Lagerfhrer [camp director; Karl Fritzsch at this time] ordered them to be employed in the gravel pit that was located not far from the Blockfhrerstube [the guardhouse next to the Arbeit macht frei gate], across from the prisoners kitchen. Before long there was a deep hole there. Fritzsch … gave the Kapos to understand that they were to liquidate these prisoners. From then on, it was judgment day. As they worked, the Kapos and the SS beat them unrelentingly with rifle butts, clubs - anything that fell to hand. The corpses were thrown into wooden crates that the others had to carry to the crematorium. We sometimes watched these scenes through the fence, and we knew the rest from stories.'
Excerpt from an account by Adam Jurkiewicz, A-ABSM (Archives of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum). Testimonies, vol. 76, p. 66.