Font size:



Volunteers from the Brynek Forestry Technical School help protect the Museum's green spaces


Clearing trees and bushes that had encroached upon drainage ditches at the Auschwitz site was the primary scope of voluntary work undertaken by students from the Stanisław Morawski Forestry Technical Secondary School in Brynek.


During their visit to the Museum from 25 February to 1 March, the students assisted the Museum's greenkeepers and engaged in an educational program. This program encompassed a guided tour of the former German Nazi concentration and extermination camp and workshops conducted by educators from the International Center for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust.

'By participating in maintenance work on the Museum's green spaces, students can learn about the camp's history and gain insight into the ongoing preservation work. Simultaneously, working in such a historically significant site provides an opportunity for reflection and contemplation. Volunteering at the Auschwitz Museum serves as a tribute to people who perished here,' said Piotr Cwynar, head of practical training at the Forestry Technical School in Brynek.

'Such cooperation, which has grown into the Museum, cannot be overestimated,' said Rafał Pióro, the Museum Deputy Director responsible for conservation while welcoming the grup. 'I often reflect on a story from 40 years ago, when your senior colleague found the notes of a Sonderkommando member while working near the ruins of Crematorium III. This document carries profound significance for our collection, as it is one of the essential records that meticulously document the Holocaust at Auschwitz,' added Pióro.

On 24 October 1980, during the process of clearing and excavating the vicinity adjacent to the ruins of gas chamber and crematorium III at Birkenau, Lesław Dyrcz, a student of the Technical School, found a leather briefcase approximately 30 cm beneath the ground containing a thermos insert. It contained a manuscript of more than a dozen pages.

The document was a 12-page letter from a Sonderkommando prisoner, written in Greek. Its author was a Greek Jew from Thessaloniki, Marcel Nadjari, who was deported to Auschwitz on 11 April 1944 in a transport of Greek Jews from Athens and sent as part of a group of 100 prisoners to the Sonderkommando that operated the crematoria at Birkenau. The letter contained pertinent information regarding the crimes perpetrated by the Germans and a formal request to forward the letter to the enclosed address. The notes and information on conservation works and reading of this unique document can be found in the Museum's publication.

'Volunteering at the Memorial frequently exposes young people to intense emotions. It imparts a sense of responsibility - not only for their "here and now" but also as an indication for the future,' stressed Katarzyna Marcak, head of volunteering at the International Center for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust.

Cooperation between the Brynek Forest and Environmental School and the Museum in the framework of school placements began in the early 1980s.

The nearly 200 hectares of the Memorial - primarily the Auschwitz II-Birkenau - encompass a stand of historic trees and a fragment of forest. Upholding the specific arrangement of trees is of great significance in the Museum conservation endeavours. These trees played a vital role in concealing extermination facilities during the camp's operation.

The fate of foresters deported to the German Nazi camp Auschwitz is the focus of a publication entitled "Memorial Book of Foresters Deported to KL Auschwitz 1940-1944." (in Polish).