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81st anniversary of the first transport of Poles to KL Auschwitz. June 14, 1940


Fot. Archiwum Historii Holokaustu, Noordwijk, Niderlandy


On 14 June 1940, the Germans transferred a group of 728 Poles from the prison in Tarnów to the Auschwitz camp. The group included soldiers of the September campaign, members of independence underground organisations, school pupils and students, and a small group of Polish Jews. They were given numbers from 31 to 758.

Events commemorating the 81st anniversary are held under the National Patronage of the President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda, and the Honorary Patronage of Minister of Culture, National Heritage and Sport Prof. Piotr Gliński.

Of the 728 deported prisoners, 325 survived the war, 292 perished, while the fate of 111 is unknown to date.

The programme for the anniversary of the deportation of the first transport of Poles to the German Nazi camp Auschwitz has been adapted to the sanitary restrictions in force associated with the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, these will not be celebrations in mass gatherings.


• 10.00 - Holy Mass at the Saint Maximilian Centre in Harmęże

• 12.00 - symbolic commemoration at the Auschwitz I site with the participation of official delegations from state authorities and organisers of the ceremonies.

All former prisoners who wish to participate in the commoration event are asked to contact the organisers (phone: +48 33 844 80 97 / ).

Media coverage: entrance for the media from Więźniów Oświęcimia 20 Street (staff entrance to the Memorial) until 11.30 upon presenting a press ID. Read more...


From 14.00, individual commemorations will be possible on the grounds of the Memorial and the laying of wreaths and candles at the Death Wall in the courtyard of Block 11. Two-person delegations will be allowed to enter the site at intervals (entrance from Stanisława Leszczyńska Street, the main entrance to the Museum). Prior notification to the following address is required: to determine the exact time of entry (GDPR information).

On the site of the Cavalry Captain Witold Pilecki State University of Malopolska in Oświęcim from 8.00 to 16.00 it will be possible to lay wreaths and candles at the plaque commemorating the place of deportation of the first transport of Polish political prisoners to KL Auschwitz - prior notification is required to the following address:


On 14 June, the day of the anniversary and especially for this occasion, the exhibition “Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away”, prepared by the Auschwitz Museum in cooperation with the Spanish company, Musealia will be officially opened at the Bank of America Gallery at Union Station in Kansas City, USA.

We also encourage you to participate in events and use the online educational materials and prepared by the co-organisers of the anniversary commemoration, which relate not only to the fate of the prisoners of the first transport of Poles to Auschwitz but also to the history of Poles in Auschwitz and during the Second World War.

• Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum

SOCIAL CAMPAIGN to read the book “The beginnings of Auschwitz in the memory of Polish political prisoners.”

OUTDOOR EXHIBITION: “14 June” (available at the Memorial from 10 June)

EDUACTIONAL SESSION: “Testimony” on the 80th anniversary of the deportation of Maximilian Kolbe to Auschwitz” (28 May)

EDUACTIONAL SESSION: in memory of Jerzy Adam Brandhuber on the 40th anniversary of his death (17 June)

EDUACTIONAL SESSION and presentation of the exhibition about Polish foresters in KL Auschwitz

ONLINE LECTURE: “The Beginnings of the German Auschwitz Camp” Piotr Setkiewicz, PhD, head of the Auschwitz Museum Research Centre

INTERNET LESSON: “The First Poles in Auschwitz”

ONLINE EXHIBITION: The first transport of Poles to Auschwitz - 14 June 1940.

DOCUMENTARY FILM: “The first transport to Auschwitz. Postscript” prepared by TVP Kraków and the Auschwitz Museum

ONLINE LESSON: “Poles in KL Auschwitz”

ONLINE EXHIBITION: “Since 14.VI, I’ve been imprisoned in the Auschwitz concentration camp...” Camp letters of Tadeusz Korczowski

ONLINE LESSON: “Expulsion of Polish and Jewish population from Oświęcim and the surrounding villages between 1940-1942”

EDUCATIONAL PROJECT: Polish citizens in KL Auschwitz

BOOK: Piotr M. A. Cywiński “The beginnings of Auschwitz in memory of the first transport of Polish political prisoners”

BOOK: Igor Bartosik, Łukasz Martyniak and Piotr Setkiewicz, “The Origins of the Auschwitz Camp in the Light of Source Materials”

BOOK:  “Voices of Memory 8. Poles in KL Auschwitz”


• The Auschwitz Memento Association

WEBSITE: "First in Auschwitz" is a documentary film about the first Polish prisoners of the camp and a story about Marian Kołodziej, a prisoner from the first transport, author of the extraordinary exhibition "Memory Cliches. The Labyrinths”, probably the most moving and complete artistic work about the world of Auschwitz. The website also features witness accounts and documentaries.


• Faith and Truth Foundation

WWW: Online educational materials for the anniversary


• Society for the Protection of Oświęcim (TOnO)

ONLINE EVENT: The evening with camp poetry. 14 June, 19:00. Bogna Lewtak-Baczyńska (recitation), Maja Baczyńska (instruments), Ilina Sawicka (harp). Streaming on Facebook.


• Foundation of Memory Sites Near Auschwitz-Birkenau

FILM: The first transport of Poles to KL Auschwitz


• International Youth Meeting Center in Oświęcim

INTERVIEW: Memory of Alfred Przybylski. Interview with Christoph Heubner, vice-president of the International Auschwitz Committee, chairman of the Board of the Foundation for the IYMC in Oświęcim.


The organizers of commemorative events:

• Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum
• Auschwitz Memento Association
• Bielsko-Żywiec Diocesan Curia
• Castle Museum in Oświęcim
• Department of the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) in Kraków
• Foundation for the Memory of Auschwitz-Birkenau Victims
• Foundation of Memory Sites Near Auschwitz-Birkenau
• Foundation Monument-Hospice for the Town of Oświęcim
• Faith and Truth Foundation
• International Youth Meeting Center in Oświęcim
• Jewish Center in Oświęcim
• Kraków Foundation Center for Information, Meeting, Dialogue, Education and Prayer in Oświęcim
• the town of Oświęcim
• Oświęcim commune
• Oświęcim County Office
• Province of the St. Anthony of Padua and Blessed Jakub Strzemię of the Order of Friars
• Remembrance Museum of Land of Oświęcim Residents
• Roma Association in Poland
• Society for the Protection of Oświęcim (TOnO)
• the town of Tarnów
• Witold Pilecki State School of Higher Education in Oświęcim