Writers who ended up in Auschwitz

Auschwitz Birkenau Museum in Oswiecim Brzezinka tour visit

At the time of the arrest or round-up, no one asked anyone who he was by education. So many famous people, including writers and poets, found themselves in the concentration camp in Auschwitz. This is what we are going to talk to you about.

One of the most famous Polish writers, who not only ended up in the camp but also survived, was Tadeusz Borowski. He was born in 1922 in Żytomierz. When Tadeusz was little, his parents were sent to Siberia, and he was left to be taken care of by his Aunt. He completed his education in secret sets. He published his first volume of poetry, „Wherever the Earth”, during World War II, specifically in 1942. A year later, he was arrested. First he was transported to Pawiak and then to KL Auschwitz-Birkenau, where he was given the camp number: 119198. It was then that his most famous short stories, such as „Please go to the Gas”, „A Day on Harmenzy,” were written. These short stories were descriptions of the camp reality. In August 1944, he was moved from camp to camp, including to Dachau, for which he managed to survive. After the war, he became involved in journalistic and artistic activities. He died on July 3, 1951, after an unsuccessful suicide attempt.

Another Polish author who lived and survived the hell of the Auschwitz concentration camp was Zofia Kossak-Szczucka, the niece of the famous painter Wojciech Kossak. She was born in August 1889. She studied painting and drawing in Warsaw and Geneva, but eventually decided to write. Before the war, she published, among other things, writings about the Crusades. After the outbreak of the war, she moved to Warsaw, where she was active in charity and the underground. She contributed to the establishment of the Provisional Committee to Aid Jews, which was later transformed into the Żegota Council to Aid Jews. She was caught as Zofia Śliwińska and transported to Auschwitz, where she was given the camp number 64491. In May 1944, she was handed over to the Gestapo and imprisoned in the Pawiak, where she waited for the judgment of the summary court of the Security Police, which was „the death penalty”. However, thanks to the efforts of the Government Delegation for Poland, she was released from Pawiak a few days before the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising. She wrote down her memories of the camp in a book called „From the Abyss”. After the war, she returned to writing, among others in exile. She was decorated with the medal of the Righteous Among the Nations. She died in Bielsko-Biała on April 9, 1968.

But, of course, Poles were not the only nation in which writers ended up in the camp. Primo Levi was born on July 31, 1919, in Turin. He was an Italian writer and chemist. How did he get to the camp? All because of his Jewish origin. In March 1944, he was arrested and then sent to Auschwitz III – Monowitz. It lasted until the camp was liberated by the Soviet army. He is the author of works such as „Plunged and Saved” about human behaviour in the face of a concentration camp and death, or „Se questo è un uomo” – about being sent to the camp and everything that the author experienced there. He died as a result of an unfortunate fall downstairs in 1987, also in Turin.

It is impossible to ignore a prisoner of the camp, who after many years became a laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize. Eliezer Wiesel was born on September 30, 1928, in Romania. He got to the camp during the deportation of Hungarian Jews with his parents and three sisters. His mother and younger sister died in Auschwitz. He and his father were assigned to work and then transported to Buchenwald. Unfortunately, his father did not survive the camp. Wiesel managed to survive. Years after the war, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 for speaking out against violence, repression, and racism. He died on July 2, 2016.

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