79th anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising
Exactly 79 years ago, at 5 pm on 1 August 1944, an armed uprising broke out in Warsaw that lasted 63 days. As a tribute to the approximately 13,000 residents of the capital deported by the Germans to Auschwitz, Anna Skrzypińska, the deputy director of the Museum, laid a wreath at the Death Wall situated in the courtyard of Block 11 in the former Auschwitz I camp at the "W" hour, marking the beginning of the fights.
The history of the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz is inextricably linked to the history of the Warsaw Uprising. During and after the suppression of the Warsaw Uprising, the Germans deported about 550,000 residents of Warsaw and approximately 100,000 people from the neighbouring areas of the city. They were sent to a specially established transit camp in Pruszków near Warsaw, Durchgangslager 121. Fifty-five thousand people were deported to concentration camps.
Transports of Poles from Warsaw to KL Auschwitz after the outbreak of the Uprising
Following the outbreak of the armed uprising in Warsaw, approximately 13,000 Warsaw residents: men, women, and children, were arrested and deported to KL Auschwitz via the Pruszków transit camp in August and September 1944. They were imprisoned in the Auschwitz II-Birkenau camp.
The deportees were people from diverse social backgrounds, professions (such as government officials, scientists, artists, doctors, merchants, and workers), various physical conditions (injured, sick, disabled, and pregnant women), and ages ranging from infants few weeks old to individuals over eighty-six years old. In certain instances, they were individuals of diverse nationalities, including Jews concealing their identity with so-called Aryan papers.
The largest group to arrive at Auschwitz were the transports of 12 and 13 August, totalling nearly 6,000 people (including some 4,000 women and 2,000 men, and among them, over 1,000 children and young people of both genders).
A subsequent transport of 3,087 men, women, and children was sent from Pruszków to Auschwitz on September 4. Two further transports arrived on13 and 17 of September, bringing with them nearly four thousand men and three women. As part of the initial stages of the preliminary evacuation of Auschwitz, the majority of the people from these transports were sent within a few or several weeks to camps in the depths of the Third Reich and put to work in the armament industry. Many died in these camps.
In January 1945, at least 602 women with children (including children born in the camp) were deported to the camps in Berlin in five transports. Some prisoners from the Warsaw transports were evacuated from the camp in January 1945. Some died during the “death marches”, while others persevered until their liberation from camps within the depths of the Reich. At least 400 people from the Pruszków transports, including some 125 children and juveniles, lived to see liberation.
The fate of those deported to Auschwitz after the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising is described in a special exhibition prepared by the Museum in the Google Cultural Institute and the 10th volume of the educational series - Voices of Memory.
The Museum has also prepared a unique online lesson devoted to the transports from insurgent Warsaw to Auschwitz.
Poles from the so-called Warsaw District deported to KL Auschwitz are commemorated in a publication by the Museum in 2000 titled The Memorial Book. Transports of Poles from Warsaw to KL Auschwitz 1940-1944. It also contains the names, known to historians, of the Warsaw residents sent to the camp in connection with the outbreak of the Uprising.
With this publication, we wish to remember the fate of those inhabitants of the Polish capital deported to Auschwitz II-Birkenau in August and September 1944. The total number of people, including men, women, and children, was close to 13,000. Their path to Birkenau led from Warsaw via the transit camp in Pruszków. At Birkenau, they disembarked at the infamous and grim rail ramp and were placed in prisoner barracks following registration. The deportees came from diverse social backgrounds and represented different professions: doctors, civil servants, workers, artists, and scientists. Among them were also a small number of Jews concealing their identity with so-called Aryan papers. This edition of "Voices of Memory" is an opportunity to present the fate of this group of camp victims and a broader historical perspective on the Uprising, the functioning of the transit camp in Pruszków and the fate of Warsaw prisoners after their evacuation from Auschwitz-Birkenau. We believe the publication will be a valuable addition to the knowledge of the Warsaw Uprising and the plight of the capital's civilian population. Furthermore, it is a sort of tribute to all the inhabitants of Warsaw deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. It is also an excellent educational tool for use in schools and extracurricular education.
In April 2007, the Museum’s publishing house released a new and expanded edition of the oft-reprinted collection of stories about children in Auschwitz titled Childhood Behind Barbed Wire. It is one of the most touching documents on the tragic fates of Auschwitz prisoners and shocking images seen by a child deported from Warsaw to Auschwitz. Its author Bogdan Bartnikowski took part in the Warsaw Ochota Uprising as a liaison officer at the age of 12. On 12 August 1944, he and his mother were deported to Auschwitz.