News24

Auschwitz era ends

2012-07-30 22:00

Warsaw - A spokesperson for Auschwitz museum says the last surviving member of a group of prisoners that escaped the German Nazi concentration camp in 1942 has died.

Spokesperson Pawel Sawicki said on Monday that August Kowalczyk died on Sunday at a hospice he helped found in the town of Oswiecim in southern Poland where the former camp is located. He was 90 years old.

Kowalczyk was brought to Auschwitz in December 1940. In June 1942 he was among 50 Polish inmates who tried to flee the camp while working in the fields. Most were killed in the attempt and only nine escaped. Kowalczyk was the last known survivor.

Kowalczyk became a popular actor and spent his lifetime telling his story to younger generations.

Some 1.5 million people, mostly Jews, were killed at Auschwitz from 1940-45.

Comments
  • kritzinger - 2012-07-30 23:02

    RIP. I went to Auschwitz last year, it's a trip I'd recommend to every single human being. Somewhere between gazing upon 2 tons of human hair and standing in a field looking at a photo of the same spot from the 40's in which thousands of bodies were being burned, you think to yourself, WTF are we doing to not let this happen again?

      tommo.too - 2012-07-30 23:05

      Wise words

      charlie.elford.5 - 2012-07-31 08:04

      We experienced something similar when we visited Hiroshima - looking at a hill which is the ashes of over 100 000 people... RIP

      kritzinger - 2012-07-31 09:29

      Paco, do the world a solid - please don't breed.

      LanfearM - 2012-07-31 09:58

      @ HalfLoaf - "...WTF are we doing to not let this happen again?" It already HAS happened again! More than once. Genocides are happening as we sit here typing. If there is one thing we have learned from history, is that we never learn from our historical mistakes.

      CassandraXabata - 2012-07-31 10:24

      HL, I envy you being able to go to Auschwitz! If I can get a bloody job again in spite of AA and BBBBEEEEEEE and all this crap, I will also go. I have a family member, killed during the Warsaw Air Bridge and buried in Cracow cemetery. I dearly wish to pay my respects an behalf of my family, albeit most deceased. Made a vow to visit Auschwitz as well. WE SHOULD DO ALL WE CAN TO NEVER LET THIS HAPPEN AGAIN

      kritzinger - 2012-07-31 11:08

      @Lanfear - very true. Cambodia being one of many since the Holocaust. I guess the sad truth is that intolerance prevails. @Cassandra, you won't regret a trip to that part of Europe. Warsaw and Krakow are beautiful, but you're always reminded of the things the cities have seen over the years. The Uprising Museum in Warsaw is the single coolest museum I've ever been to. Amazing places to visit.

      TacksGP - 2012-07-31 21:33

      Unfortunately it seems like the world is going there again, and we pay too much attention to our comfortable lives and materials, forgetting or ignorant of what's happening in our fellow African(Nigeria, Kenya e.t.c.), Asian(Syria) countries.

  • tommo.too - 2012-07-31 00:07

    I use the traditional Jewish farewell when our loved ones are torn from us, \May they be bound up in the bond of the living\

  • Denise - 2012-07-31 07:07

    This confuses me. Are there no survivors at all? Remember the Allies swept in and rescued many people at the end of the war. Or is it the last of the actual escapees that has passed on? If the latter, then the Auschwitz era continues to remind, as, quite frankly, it should do for ever more.

      stuart.steedman - 2012-07-31 07:55

      This was the last survivor of the Polish escapees, not of all Auschwitz prisoners.

  • fatmike182 - 2012-07-31 16:10

    It seems as if more survivors of Auschwitz escapes are still alive, so as Kazimierz Piechowski. August Kowalczyk was the last brave survivor of the escape of the 50ppl. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kazimierz_Piechowski

  • tyroymike3 - 2012-07-31 22:35

    Every South African should visit the Apartheid Museum - it was in our own back yard !!

  • sharon.tarin1 - 2012-08-01 08:43

    RIP brave man.

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