Auschwitz – Escapes

With Tadeusz Wiejowski being the first prisoner able to escape from Auschwitz on
July 6, 1940, according to Polish historian Henryk Świebocki, at least 802 prisoners
attempted their escape from Auschwitz. Świebocki writes that of 802 escape
attempts, 144 were successful, 327 failed, and were caught, while the fate of 331
remains unknown. Moreover, the escapes were mostly attempted from work
sites outside the camp’s perimeter fence.

Eugeniusz Bendera (serial number 8502), Kazimierz Piechowski (no. 918),
Stanisław Gustaw Jaster (no. 6438), and Józef Lempart (no. 3419), these four
Polish prisoners attempted and successfully escaped Auschwitz concentration
camp on June 20, 1942. The four escapees were able to break into a warehouse,
three of four dressed as SS officers, armed with stolen rifles managed to steal a
car and successfully drove out of the camp with the fourth prisoner being
handcuffed acting as their prisoner. The four escapees wrote a letter to Rudolf
Höss, the commandant of the camp at the time, apologizing for the loss of the

On July 21, 1944, a Polish inmate by the name of Jerzy Bielecki managed to get a
hold of a SS uniform and, using fake ID crossed the camp’s gate with his Jewish
girlfriend Cyla Cybulska. Cyla pretended to be an inmate being taken for
questioning and Jerzy an officer in charge of her transport. Both Cyla and Jerzy
survived the war. Jerzy Bielecki for saving Cyla was recognized by Yad Vashem as
Righteous Among the Nations.

Two Polish prisoners who escaped on November 19, 1943, were Jerzy Tabeau (no.
27273, registered as Jerzy Wesołowski) and Roman Cieliczko (no. 27089). Tabeau
contacted the Polish underground and between December 1943 and early 1944
wrote about the situation in the Auschwitz concentration camp. Later this report
became known as Polish Major’s report about the situation in the camp.
Rudolf Vrba (no. 44070) and Alfréd Wetzler (no. 29162) escaped to Slovakia on
April 27, 1944, bringing with them a detailed report of the gas chambers to the
Slovak Jewish Council. This report later was named the Vrba-Wetzler report and

was partially published in June 1944, being used to halt the deportation of
Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz.
On May 27, 1944, Arnost Rosin (no. 29858) and Czesław Mordowicz (no. 84216),
were also able to escape to Slovakia and reporting on the situation in Auschwitz.
The Rosin-Mordowicz report in addition to the Vrba-Wetzler report became
known as Auschwitz Protocols. These reports were entirely published for the first
time in November 1944 by the United States Refugee Board in a document called
The Extermination Camps of Auschwitz (Oświęcim) and Birkenau in Upper Silesia.

Our trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau

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