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Maurerschule - Auschwitz I


The Bricklayer School Register contained a register of adolescent prisoners, who were bricklaying students at the bricklayer school, as well as their teachers.

The bricklayer school's students were young prisoners transported from the very beginning of the KL Auschwitz camp. Prior to their imprisonment they were students of junior secondary schools, were secondary students or had just completed several grades of primary school. They were not educated within any profession yet. To be useful for the camp authorities they needed a job. The camp was developing, therefore bricklayers were the most necessary professionals at that time. As a result one of the SS officers, Franz Xawery Maier, suggested starting a bricklayer school, where the adolescents were taught the profession of a bricklayer.

The Bricklayer School Register that survives refers to students who were living in block 7a within the Auschwitz I parent camp from September 29, 1942 and were taught at the school located in the block’s attic. Apart from practical classes, the training program covered: building construction knowledge, calculations and geometry, as well as German classes. Having completed the course, the adolescents were transferred to worker kommandos and delegated to work as a bricklayer or a bricklayer's assistant. Many of the bricklayer school students worked on the construction of barracks in Birkenau and residential blocks in the so-called prolongation of the parent camp, as well as the construction of a new laundry unit, air raid shelters for SS officers, a potato production unit, heating plant, fire fighting tanks, even gas chambers and crematoria.

The bricklayer school's teachers were qualified prisoners, e.g. the master builder – August Kolodzik (no. 11067) – a kapo who managed the training; building technicians – Władysław Heybowicz (no. 24801), Igo Trochanowski (no. 24725), Alojzy Mosyński (no. 22699) – conducting classes in Building Constructions; Zygmunt Waszniewski (no. 7110) – conducting classes in Materials Knowledge; Jan Mosdorf (no. 8230) – Mathematics teacher; Herbert Puscher (no. 25476) and Franciszek Świgost (no. 8628) – German teachers; Henryk Bednarski (no. 67) – conducting practical classes; Albert Pawłowski (no. 23475) – a kommando recorder.  The Bricklayer School Register is highly valuable and the only source (apart from prisoners’ memories) of the KL Auschwitz bricklayer school's history.

The Maurerschule book had the format of an A4 notebook with a cover bearing the word Calypso, the drawing of a circle and a poorly visible stamp saying “Maurerschule K.L. Auschwitz” below it. Individual pages of the book contain tables made by the recorder in his own hand and providing the following data: date (“Datum”), number (“Lfd. Nr.” – Laufende Nummer), under which a prisoner’s enrollment at the school (“Zugang”) or leaving the school (“Abgang”) was recorded. The next two columns included the prisoner’s camp number (“Häftl. Nr.” – Häftling Nummer) as well as their full name (“Name u. Vorname” – Name und Vorname). In several cases the recorder provided the date of birth beside the surname. The last column – remarks (“Bemerkungen”) – contains various information concerning the prisoner’s life, e.g. transferred to the Maurerschule by the work manager (zugeteilt durch Arbeitsdienstführer), transferred upon the completion of training (als Ausgelernter verlegt), transferred to the Neubau work kommando (AK Neubau), transferred to the camp hospital (HKB), or dead (+).

The first two pages of the Bricklayer School Register are lost. The following pages from 3. to 40. and from 45. to 78. survived. There is no information concerning the circumstances in which the missing pages were removed from the Register.

            The entries on page three start from October 3, 1942, and one can assume therefore, that the missing pages contained entries covering the period from September 29, 1942 (the date when the bricklayer school was moved to the parent camp from KL Birkenau) to October 3, 1942. The removed pages (from 41. to 44.) contain missing entries from the period starting on March 5 and ending on March 25, 1943. The handwriting suggests that the Register was kept by at least 5 or 6 recorders.


The Maurerschule Register that survives was kept for 8 months, from September 29, 1942 to June 1, 1943. The number of school students varied from 126 to 452 prisoners. The students were mostly Jewish or Gypsies between the ages of 16-18. But in addition younger prisoners were students at the school. The register contains 1510 entries concerning 974 prisoners. The names of several prisoners were recorded more than once, resulting from their transfer to the camp hospital, returning to the school and leaving the school following training.


The original Bricklayer School Register was found by accident by a prisoner, Louis Posner (no. 117657), in January 1945 in one of the Monowitz sub-camp barracks. Unfortunately there is no information regarding how a document concerning Auschwitz I camp ended up in the Monowitz sub-camp. Perhaps the recorder was transferred to the Monowitz sub-camp and incorporated into the Buna kommando that was building IG Farben plant and brought it with him? In 1976 the notebook was given to the Museum of Tolerance, Szymon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. In 1999 the Museum of Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oświęcim received photocopies of the document, and colour scans thereof were received at the end of 2002.

Database: “Maurer”

Work on the complete digitalisation and preparation of the Bricklayer School Register started in 2000. The work included reading and entering all information contained in the document in a database. The database consists of 1510 records in total. Individual records were combined with visual material, which helped in decoding illegible entries in many cases. The next step covered the correction of individual entries and searches in other databases and archive groups. Such a thorough search significantly allowed for the completion of missing data and, as a result, the life of individual prisoners – and also the ethnic and age distribution of the Maurerschule students – could be traced. Each and every data correction or addition of data was extensively described in a unified field with a comment. The “Maurer” database thereby developed was incorporated into the Central Register of Prisoners kept by the Digital Repository of the National Museum of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

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