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MEMORIAL AND MUSEUM AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU FORMER GERMAN NAZI
CONCENTRATION AND EXTERMINATION CAMP

Resistance documents - memories

One day, a prisoner - Jan Mosdorf – who was a liaison officer, came to us, bringing an order to prepare an extract from the books of the female camp's hospital. There was a danger that while being afraid of the International Red Cross, which became interested with KL Auschwitz-Birkenau, the camp's authorities would change the hospital's book. (…)

            Extracts from the hospital's books were prepared by Monika Galica, who then passed them on to Antonina Piątkowska. Piątkowska stored them in a hiding place in the block No 4, prepared especially for that purpose. When at the end of 1994, they started to move us from one block to another, Piątkowska, with help of the female prisoner Zofia Gawron, sent the extracts from the hospital's books outside the camp. They were stored in Brzeszcze by the father of Zofia Gawron. The extracts included: first and last name of the female prisoner, camp number and the date of death.

Wiktoria Klimaszewska (No 25993)

 

In October 1942, I fell ill with typhus. I remained in the camp's hospital barrack, and when my fever passed, I was kept in the hospital permanently. I was ascribed to work in the female prisoner hospital's office, which was located in the barrack No 30, in the BIa fragment of the camp. (...) While working there, I had access to various documents, among others to the book of deceased prisoners. It was big format book. Its pages included numerous columns. Records were kept in the book according to the dates of death, on the basis of reports submitted from separate blocks. (…)

            I can't recall now who and when turned to me with a request to prepare extracts from this book. It was about making a list of last names, camp numbers and dates of deaths of Polish female prisoners. I handed the pieces of papers with the last names on them to Antonina Piątkowska. (...) I prepared the extracts secretly, on little  A-6 pieces of paper, which were glued together after the war, which is why now the format is A-4. Stealing the Book of deceased female prisoners from the Schreibstube, I prepared the extracts only at night. It was not easy, as the books were supervised by one female prisoner on her shift, who upon my request, allowed me to move the book to the neighbouring ambulatory room. It was risky to be in the ambulatory at such a late time, as any controlling SS man could ask what I was doing there at such an hour..

            One time, about 1 a.m., one of the supervisors entered the ambulatory. Fortunately, I heard her approaching the ambulatory earlier, so I made it to put the written pieces of paper into the files. I had it already well thought, and my presence at the files gave me an opportunity to explain myself somehow. Fortunately, the Aufseherin did not search me through, she only asked if I worked with Lagerzat's consent. I confirmed, though it was not true. The following day I reported the night visit to Lagerarzt Klein, explaining that I still had to work at 1 a.m. I there was so much work to do, but I told Aufseherin that he (the Lagerarzt) did not know about it. The Lagerarzt did not research the whole matter, and I was only punished for this.

            In 1943, I can't recall a specific day, one of my friends ordered me to destroy all of the written pieces of paper. There were already plenty of them, I didn't want to waste my work, which I put into preparation of the list, but eventually I performed the order and burnt the pieces, covered in writing with such difficulties, in a little furnace standing in the Schreibstube. I must have received that order as a result of a kind of a slip-up. Anyway, when everything calmed down, I started working from the beginning.

Monika Galica (No 6814)

 

In autumn 1942, upon my return from the penal company in Budy, I turned to the fellow prisoner from my transport, Monika Galica, with an offer to prepare a list of Poles, who died in the camp. Monika Galica accepted this proposal with great enthusiasm, and while working on the district, where she had access to the Book of deceased women, she systematically kept records of deceased Poles, handing them to me for storage. This activity lasted for almost two years.   The lists of deceased female prisoners were passed on to me in various time intervals, and they were stored in various hiding places.

Zofia Gawron helped me to hide the documents. We buried and moved them to other hiding places together. Saving of the Lists of deceased female prisoners was also supported by Władysław Urbański, employed in the Zimmerei commando, who some time, almost at the last moment during a search on the block, took away the documents and hid them in the hiding place that I pointed. I was also supported by the prisoner Wacław Szparadziński, also employed in the Zimmerei commando, who together with Urbański hid the lists of female prisoners under the concrete in the washing room in the block No 4. Also Witkoria Klimaszewska and Krystyna Horczak new about storage of the documentation.

In the face of German intentions to liquidate the female camp, its BIa and BIb fragments in Birkenau, and moving the female prisoners to the former family camp for Gypsies on the BIIe fragment, I was forced to take out the documents from the hiding place under the concreted floor in the block No 4’s washing room in October 1944. At night, together with Zosia Gawron, we crushed the concrete, and took out the jars with documents. Afterwards, I sewn the documentation into the belt, and transported them to the former family camp for Gypsies, which we were transported to. I did not know that territory, I had no hiding places, and I couldn't hide the documents on the block either, because the searches were performed quite frequently, so I carried them with me. After two weeks, Zofia Gawron contacted a civil worker, employed in the conspiracy, and passed these documents on to her family outside the camp with his help.

In May 1945, after coming back from the camp, the Gawron family returned the stored documents to me. I handed the lists of deceased Poles to the "Caritas" organization, to cardinal Sapieha, who then passed them to the Rev. Jasiński. Thanks to the attempts taken by the latter, the documents were published in the press and radio, and sent to the Main Commission for Investigation of German Crimes, to PhD Sehn.

Antonina Piątkowska (No 6805)

 

While working in the Zimmereibarakenbau commando, we would go, repair and reconstruct the barracks. (…) The Oberkapo selected a group of about 20 people for the female camp. We both found ourselves in this group. (...) After coming to the female camp, my friend Urbański went to the barrack No 4, occupied by functional female prisoners and those working in the camp's administration. Also Antonina Piątkowska lived there. Urbański knew that she worked in the resistance movement, and shared various information with her.

Within this time, control was expected in the barrack No 4, and Piątkowska confined to Urbański that she had very important documentation to hide, posing evidence of Hitler's crimes. We decided to take these materials from her and store them. We took a toolbox and one ceramic pipe from a plumber. We hid the documents taken from Piątkowska in that pipe. After bringing the pipe to the barrack, where we worked, we put it into a ditch dug by the plumbers, and covered it with chips. Not long time after that, a group of SS men came to the barrack No 4 (among others Boger, Kramer) assisted by a supervisor of the female camp, Drexler. They remained there for quite a long time, and the surprisingly moved toward the barrack of our work No 10. They asked us about nothing, they did search us up, they only looked at as and at our work with these piercing eyes. We were very nervous with their visit, all the more that the fellow plumbers knew nothing about hiding the pipe with documentation. One of them even started to remove the chips. Szparadziński made it to whisper to him: "Don't move it". Then, the plumber moved to work in another corner of the barrack. The SS men stood by us for half an hour. When they left, we moved the pipe with documentation to the barrack No 4, and there, together with Piątkowska, we hid it under the cement floor in the washing room. The floor was destroyed, with many holes, so it was easy to put a pipe under it. Szparadziński watched if no one was approaching the barrack and Urbański with Piątkowska secured the documents.

Wacław Szparadziński (No 11013)

Władysław Urbański (No 62452)