The trial and execution of KL Auschwitz-Birkenau crew in Cracow in 1947/1948.
The fight for life.
On 22nd December 1947 The Supreme National Tribunal pronounced the sentence on Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp criminals who were tried in Cracow. Twenty-three of them were sentenced to death1). The sentence was pronounced at 9 o’clock. The reading out and justification of the verdict took almost all day. On that day the I Prosecutor of the Supreme National Tribunal Stefan Kurowski sent a letter to dr. Mieczysław Szewczyk the Prosecutor of the District Court in Cracow, in which he wrote:
“W związku z treścią ogłoszonego wyroku (…) “
The handwritten notation on the document stated: “I delivered the document in person on the 22nd November 1947”. All the convicts and their barristers appealed for pardon to the President Bierut on 24th and 27th December 1947 and were waiting anxiously for the President’s decision. The letters sent by barristers were procedural i.e. Stanisław Rymar wrote:
“Najdostojniejszy Obywatelu Prezydencie (..)”
The convicts considered themselves innocent and blamed their principals for their deeds, mainly Rudolf Höss. The Maksymilian Grabner’s appeal consisted of seven pages. The appeals of Hans Aumeier and Artur Liebehenschel were one page long. Maria Mandel was also innocent. From her two page appeal clearly stands out that doctors Clauberg and Schumann, who were choosing female prisoners for experiments, were to be blamed. She did not have dogs, she did not wear a stick. Probably, she was taken for someone else. She asked for pardon out of consideration for her father’s old age.
President’s Bierut decision.
President Bierut used his right of pardon towards just two of the convicts: SS doctor Johann Kremer and Artur Breitwieser. The first one was the oldest among the criminals sentenced to death and the latter was the youngest 2). President rejected the proposals of other convicts and their barristers. The decision was probably taken on 12th or 13th January 1948. The Department of Justice judicial writ dated 13th of January 1948 marked as N.S. IV. 75-48 directed to the Supreme National Tribunal in Cracow was signed by the head of judicial supervision Z. Kapitaniak.
“Minister Sprawiedliwości zawiadamia, że Obywatel Prezydent Rzeczypospolitej
nie skorzystał (…)”
The surnames of convicts as well as of those pardoned by President Bierut needed to be written in capital letters as to avoid mistakes. There was no mistake in this case. However, there were some spelling mistakes in other cases such as the case of convicts of KL Stutthof sentenced to death by the Special Criminal Court in Gdansk on 31st May 1946. The convicts were hanged in public in Gdansk 3).
The national and foreign press interest in the execution.
The interest in execution of the KL Auschwitz-Birkenau criminals was great not only in Poland. On 13th January 1948 Larry Allen, the head of American Press Agency ”The Associated Press” in Warsaw, who had been following the Cracow trial, requested the I Prosecutor of the Supreme National Tribunal Stefan Kurowski:
“Byłbym bardzo wdzięczny za poinformowanie mnie listownie, kiedy zostaną
wykonane wyroki (..)”
The British morning conservative and liberal daily paper “The Daily Telegraph and Morning Post”, so called ‘penny press’, printed false information titled “German Executed” on 14th January 1948 before receiving the answer from the press agency (which, at that time, was sending 10 000 news translated from English to Spanish, German, French, Dutch and Swedish four times a day) confirming that information. The content of information was as follows:
“German Executed- Two women were among 23 German SS Officers from Auschwitz concentration camp executed in Krakow. Poland for crimes against humanity”.
Larry Allen received the answer from the I Prosecutor Kurowski on 13th January 1948 stating that the execution will be carried out in the coming days 4). The Trybuna Robotnicza (political press) printed similar information two days later on 17th January 1948 in Saturday’s issue 17 (1045). The article titled ’21 German criminals from Oświęcim to be hanged’ informed:
“23 zbrodniarzy z załogi KL Auschwitz …złożyło podania …o łaskę (..)”
The same information was printed by “Życie Warszawy” and other papers. If the press had the information that the President pardoned just 2 out of 23 Auschwitz criminals in the mid of January, why the executions were delayed for almost 9 days? Especially that, it was supposed to be carried out in the coming few days. The answer seems to be simple, if the Department of Justice judicial writ had been delivered to the District Prosecutor in Cracow on Friday 16th or Saturday 17th January 1948 the executions could have been carried out the following Saturday 24th January 1948.
It is probable as the Department of Justice judicial writ from Warsaw was addressed first to the Supreme National Tribunal and then readdressed to the District Court in Cracow.
However, the matter of delivering the judicial writ is not clearly explained. After the execution a prosecutor of the District Court in Cracow informed the Department of Justice about the accomplishment of sentences. He explained also that the judicial writ from 13th January 1948 was delivered to him on 22nd January 1948, just two days before the executions. What is more, the exact time of delivery was given – 2.30 pm.
The fact the prosecutor sent an explanation is highly meaningful. It could be assumed that the Department of Justice demanded an explanation for the delay. It is likely that the pressure of the press and the public in Poland as well as in other countries contributed to this. It was expected that the justice has been done immediately. Larry Allen’s intervention confirms that the interest in execution was great. Similarly, two years earlier the trial and the execution of the “Beast” from Belsen and 40 other criminals from the concentration camp in Belsen aroused huge international interest 5).
If the judicial writ from 13th January 1948 was delivered to the Prosecutor on Thursday 22nd January, there was just one day to prepare the executions of 21 criminals from KL Auschwitz-Birkenau.
German oppressors in condemned cells
The executions were to be carried out in a prison on Montelupich Street. It is almost impossible to tell which cells were the condemned cells for the convicts as well as, it is difficult to indicate the place they were hanged. What is more, it is not known when exactly they were placed there. However, it is known that the condemned cells were in the central building. This building consists of two wings, which create an obtuse angle. The length of the wings was 62m and 64m.
Eugeniusz Zawada, the governor of this prison in 1970s, claims that the third floor was built after the war and that was the floor where the Nazi murderers were kept before the executions 6) . Some of the cells were single, the others designed for two or three prisoners, for women and men. Stanisława Rachwałowa, the political prisoner, was kept in one of those cells. Her account was mentioned before. As she writes:
“Tak się stało, że wyrok, który otrzymałam brzmiał: kara śmierci (..)” 7)
Her account confirms that the condemned cells were on the higher floor of the central building. It was the highest floor that existed at that time, so it can be judged that it was the third floor. The other prisoner also confirms that information. He was judged for the Waffen SS crimes and after serving six year sentence, was let out and moved back to Germany. His account was written down in CIA report from 1953 in English: ‘Life And Conditions In MONTELIPICH Prison’ 8) . Some parts of it were translated into Polish:
“Na trzecim piętrze są cele dla siedzących w śledztwie (..)”
After the renovation in 1946, the building consists of three floors and it exists in this condition until the present day. It can be assumed that the author counted floors with basements. The condemned cells were under special supervision. It is difficult to say if the convicts were informed about the president’s rejections of their appeals. It might be so, as the press published the information on 17th January. Intensified supervision and other circumstances might be thought-provoking. Definitely, convicts are not informed beforehand about the date of execution as to save additional torment 9).
The photo 1: A plan of Montelupich Prison.
The photo 2: A skerch by Ms E.Zawada: no 3 A prison building with death cells on the third floor, no 4 Guard posts, no 5 A building where the execution took place on 24th January 1948 (an ossuary marked next to it), no 6 A prison wall.
The photo 3: A building where the execution of KL Auschwitz ciminals took place on 24th January 1948.
The photo 3-6: Artur Libehenschel, Max Grabner,Hans Aumeier, Maria Mandel. Carl Mockel (-) were hanged at. 7.09 0 7.32
Preparations to the executions
On 23rd January 1948 the Prosecutor of the District Court in Cracow sent 21 letters numbered 1-21/48 to the Governor of the Montelupich Prison in Cracow. The copy of the Supreme National Tribunal sentence from 22nd December 1947, no. NTN 5/47 and the copy of the notice from the Department of Justice from 13th January 1948 were attached to the letters. The Prosecutor administered that the sentences are to be carried out. Each letter was provided with the name and the surname of the convict. As he wrote:
“Termin egzekucji przez powieszenie wyznaczam na dzień 24.I.1948 r. o godz. 7.00 rano (…)” 10)
All letters were the same. Only names and surnames of the convicts were changed. The executions were planned for 7 o’clock in the morning which did not mean that all convicts would be hanged at the same time.
On the way to destiny
According to Zawada, the convicts could be taken from the third floor to the place of execution through side staircase. But we cannot be sure that it was built in January 1948 or at the beginning of 1950s. If the side staircase did not existed at that time, the convicts must have been taken through the main corridor and stairs to the main exit. Then, they were taken along this wing to the new building, which was adapted to hang a few people at the same time 11).
Executions of political prisoners by shooting were taking place on the small square called “Kurnik” (‘henhouse’) behind that building. Already cited CIA report mentions the place 12):
“Podczas straceń, które odbywają się za piekarnią na tym placyku (…)”
Considering harsh weather conditions, the executions had to be carried out in that building.
24th January 1948 – at the crack of dawn
It was a foggy morning on 24th January 1948. Saturday, the day of the execution of twenty-one murderers from KL Auschwitz. The Prosecutor decided to hang the convicts in three groups of five people and the last group consisting of six people. They were assigned to groups according to the order of names put on the sentence notice. The first group was formed by: Artur Liebhenschel, Maksymilian Grabner, Hans Aumeier, Karl Ernst Möckel and Maria Mandel.
The Governor of the Montelupich prison ordered to put up the gallows in the place of execution. It is likely that a piece of rail with strings and trapdoor stood for the gallows.
At 6.40 in the morning the temperature was -3,4 degrees. It was a bit windy and cloudy 13). Before 7 o’clock prison officers went to take the first group of the convicts. They were prepared for different reactions of the convicts, but they did not expect what was waiting for them. Artur Liebehenschel, the former KL Auschwitz-Birkenau commandant and his deputy Carl Möckel were lead out of the first cell. Both were the same age (47 years old) and had long experience in NSDAP and SS (1932 and 1935 respectively). At that moment they were distressed but calm. Liebehenschel left his Bible on a table. During his stay in the condemned cell he did not part with it at any time. According to Edward Kurtyka account, both of the convicts were kneeling and praying every evening 14). Their hands were tied. The prison officers moved to the second cell.
Maksymilian Garbner, 43, the former head of Politische Abteilung in KL Auschwitz, once the master of life and death, who enjoyed killing people, could be seen kneeling before the officers trying to kiss their boots and begging for mercy. When they were trying to put him on his legs, he was struggling desperately, crying and sobbing. Just after Hans Aumeier kicked Garbner, the officers could take him 15). Not long before, they were friends organizing “cleaning of bunker’ in the 11th block, which meant choosing random people to be executed by shooting in front of the Wall of Death. Hans Aumeier, 42, gained his executioner’s experience in different concentration camps: Lichtenburg, Buchenwald, Flossenburg. After leaving KL Auschwitz-Birkenau before the end of the War he set up a concentration camp Vaivra in Estonia, where he was perceived as the good guard of the prisoners. Then, he was moved to Kaufering camp in Dachau for a short time.
Also Maria Mandel, through the concentration camps for women from Lichtenburg, Ravensbrück to KL Auschwitz-Birkenau, trampled over people to obtain promotions in the genocidal career – from aufseherin, oberafseherin to SS-Lagerführerin 16). She became 36 years old just 12 days earlier. She could not be surpassed in the sadistic enjoyment in killing people. She was the last in the first group of the convicts lead to execution. Scared stiff Teresa Brandl remained in the cell.
The convicts were taken downstairs. They were lead along the wing of the building, across the courtyard to the building where the execution was about to be carried out.
The prosecutor Miroslaw Kulesza, the governor’s deputy Piotr Pazderski, the clerk of the court M. Rogowski, prison doctor Eryk Dormicki, the interpreter Stefan Gorcz were at the place. Two priests: Catholic Marian Stark 17) and Evangelical pastor Karol Grych as well as executioners with assistants were present. Names of the executioners and their assistants were known just by the governor of the prison. In accordance with the usage, their names remained undisclosed in execution reports. That is why it is difficult to judge how many of them were present at that day. It could be assumed that there were a few.
Five convicts were placed at the trapdoor as follows: Artur Liebehenschel, Maksymilian Garbner, Hans Aumeier, Carl Möckel and Maria Mandel. The order is confirmed with the execution report: Liebehenschel – W 6/48, Garbner – W 7/48, Aumeier – W-8/48, Möckel – W-9/48 and Mandel – W-10/48. It was 7.09 in the morning.
The order of executions is written down in the reports, but description of the execution of Rudolf Höss, April 1947 is also useful 18). The executioners and their assistants helped the convicts to stand in the right place. Next, two clerics approached the gallows. If they talked with the convicts, the conversations were very brief. Just Hans Aumeier, as an atheist, refused religious consolation.
The prosecutor Mirosław Kulesza read out the verdict (supposedly, just an abstract concerning the five convicts) and an excerpt of the letter from the Judicial Supervision of the Department of Justice from 13th January 1948 about rejecting the appeals of the convicts. After announcing them in German by the translator Stefan Gorcza, the executioners put halters on convicts’ necks.
Artur Liebehenschel shouted out ‘Es lebe Polen!!!’ (‘Niech żyje Polska’). Maria Mandel repeated the cry after him 19).
After few seconds the trapdoor was opened and five convicts were hanged. When they were dying, the priests were praying for their souls. According to the procedures, bodies of the convicts had to be left for 15 minutes until all body functions stop. A prison doctor, Eryk Dormicki, certified a death of all hanged persons at 7.32 and just then, the bodies could be removed.
The Supreme National Tribunal protocols form the execution od Hans Aumeier and Maria Mandel (Mandl) from 24th Hanuary 1948
Es lebe Polen !!! (Niech żyje Polska !!!)
Could those two cries ‘Es lebe Polen!!!’ (‘Niech żyje Polska!!!’) be taken for compensation for the crimes committed in KL Auschwitz-Birkenau? Were they a proof of remorse? Today, it could be seen this way. But it should be remembered that they never made a plea of guilty. Till the very end they considered themselves innocent and just the victims of the system they were working for - killing weeds and parasites which were destroying a healthy organism. In Nazi ideology such parasites were the Jews, the Roma, the Polish and other Slavic nations. The real criminals responsible for all crimes were Hitler, Himmler, Rudolf Höss, Richard Glücks and Otto Pohl.
The difference is that Artur Liebehenschel signed extermination orders without killing anyone personally, just like Rudolf Höss. Whereas, lagerführerin Maria Mandel not only signed lists of people sent to death but also found great pleasure in sadistic murdering women, children and men, eyeing out prisoners with a stick, cutting faces and mishandling women’s dignity.
Theatricality of those two cries resembles behavior of other 16 convicts who were hanged on 16th October 1946 in Nuremberg. Hans Frank, the governor of GG shouted out ‘Christ, forgive me!’. Ribbentrop while being prepared for death muttered ‘I trust the blood of the lamb who takes away the sins of the world’. Keitel appealed to God and Germany and Streicher, who behaved in Nuremberg like Grabner, was shouting ‘Heil Hitler!!!’. So did other convicts during the public executions which took place on Solzenberg hill in Gdansk on 4th July 1946, but that is a topic for a separate article.
Next five convicts: Franz Kraus, Erich Muhsfeld, Hermann Kirchner, Heinrich Josten and Wilhelm Gehring were brought in at 7.43. The executions were finished at 8.05. After 11 minutes Ludwig Plagge, Otton Latsch, Fritz Buntrock and August Bogusch were placed on the trapdoor. At 8.36 their bodies were taken down from the gallows and at 8.48 the last six convicts were brought in: Paul Götz, Paweł Szczurek 20), Theresa Rosi Brandl, Józef Kollmer, Herbert Ludwig and Hans Schumacher. The executions were finished at 9.08. No barrister was present.
After executions and certifying a death people present signed 21 reports and a prison doctor signed also death certificates. The information about executing a judgment spread around the prison very quickly. Unknown informant wrote in CIA report ‘Life and Conditions In Montelupich prison’ 21):
“Rano pomocnicy lub sprzątaczki przyniosą wieść o tym kogo stracono (..)”
It is possible that Stanisława Rachwałowa found out about Maria Mandel’s death in this way 22):
“Więcej już nie widziałam ich. Po kilku dniach zostały stracone i wiem, że Mandel była ostatnia (…)”
Documentation of prison convicts.
It is uncertain if the bodies were put in the coffins or they were moved to another room after the executions. First five reports contain the information about bringing in the convict at 7.09 and the date and hour of death which was 7.32. Beside names and surnames all protocols were similar. Hans Aumeier death report was not signed by any priest as he was an atheist. Artur Liebehenschel and Carl Möckel death reports were signed by Evangelical pastor Karol Grych. The executioners were not mentioned in reports.
Artur Liebehenschel, Carl Möckel, Hans Aumeier and Franz Kraus had high decorations: the SS Honor Ring and SS Honor Sword. Additionally, they were awarded The War Merit Cross (Kriegsverdienstkreuz) First or Second Class which had also Maria Mandel, Erich Muhsfeld, Hermann Kirchner and Teresa Brandl. The Kriegsverdienstkreuz was highly valued and awarded for exceptional service – Jürgen Stroop was one of the recipients of this award for pacifying the uprising in Warsaw ghetto.
Prison documentation gives a lot of details regarding convicts’ appearance: height, weight, hair and eye color, shape of eyebrows and nose, teeth, tattoos and other information. It also included a thumbprint and a signature of each of the convicts. First page contained personal information, marital status, date of arrest and date of serving sentence. In this case the date of release was 24.I.48 and a cross sign next to it with letters ‘w.w’ which stands for execution of judgment. Artur Liebehenschel was 180cm tall, weighted 84 kilos, had brown eyes. Hans Aumeier 23) – 160 cm, 50 kilos, grey eyes, no teeth. Maksymilian Grabner – 170cm, 70 kilos, dark blond hair, green eyes. Maria Mandel – 164cm, 60 kilos, blond hair, blue-grey eyes. Supposedly, Aumeier did not have a part of a left ear. He might have lost it during fights with the Russians in Estonia after removing him from KL Auschwitz for corruption and stealing. He was fighting on Eastern front in police battalion ‘Kampfgruppe Jeckelna’ from 20th August 1944 for some time.
Photos from the execution?
No photos from the execution have been found to this day. It might be surprising as it lasted from 7.09 to 9.06 am so almost for two hours. What is more, the execution of Rudolf Höss was photographed by Dąbrowiecki and some other man who was probably an UB officer. The photographs were ordered by ”Film Polski” magazine (‘the Polish Film’ magazine). As Andrzej Gass wrote in his article about the Rudolf Höss execution:
“Do Dąbrowieckiego podeszło dwóch funkcjonariuszy MBP, wyjęli mu z dłoni aparat (…)”
An American photographer took two photos of each convicts who were hanged in Nuremberg. They were supposed to be kept secret, but somehow they were published. Hence, it is likely that photos from the execution in Montelupich Prison in Cracow are kept secret in the Department of Justice or in the WUBP archives in Cracow.
The criminals’ bodies – teaching material for students of medicine
The last execution finished at 9.06 in the morning. The same day all bodies were sent to the Jagiellonian Department of Descriptive Anatomy. The governor of the Montelupich Prison as well as governors of all other prisons could not decide what to do with the convicts’ bodies.
The Ministry of Public Security issued a decision no. 95 GVM/46 regarding prisoners’ bodies on 6th May 1946 24) and it was sent in writing (no. II. Og. 973/46) to prisons in Cracow, Wroclaw, Lodz, Mokotow, n/Prague, Gdansk, Poznan and Torun on 14th June 1946 by the Department of Penology and Camps of the Ministry of Public Security. In this letter it was pointed out that prisoners’ bodies can be sent to anatomy plants in case a prisoner did not have any relatives who could take his body. What is more, families of deceased prisoners had to be informed about the death even if they lived outside prison, with a fixed date given to reclaim bodies. Bodies of prisoners who were homeless could be sent to anatomy plants without reservations. Also, bodies of convicts who were sentenced to death penalties could be used by scientific plants after receiving a permission from a prosecutor. This letter was signed by lieutenant coronel D. J. Łańcut. All university departments were informed about the decision. In 1948 the Department of Descriptive Anatomy was a part of the Medical Department of Jagiellonian University in Cracow (Collegium Medicum) 25).
Bodies were used as training material for students. That is why, anatomy departments received the bodies and not the Forensic Medicine Plant. According to this procedure, Jürgen Stroop’s body, who was hanged 6th March 1952, was sent to the Department of Anatomy of Warsaw University alongside five bodies of women and six men who were hanged on Stolzenberg hill in Gdansk on 4th July 1946 26).
Corpse of political prisoners were also used as teaching material i.e. a body of lieutenant coronel Antoni Wodyński called “Odyniec”, aged 26, a soldier of VI Brigade of Home Army who died of gunshot wounds on 8th July 1948. In order to erase the traces his body was sent to the Department of Anatomy of Wroclaw University as a body of an unknown person NN 27).
Next letter regarding delegating bodies of executed prisoners with a copy of the letter Dep. VI. was sent to the Governor of Montelupich Prison in Cracow by Provincial Public Security Office on 16th January 1947. In the letter no. 253/VI/47 it was recommended to:
“nawiązać kontakt z Zakładem Anatomii Opisowej (…)”
In individual cases the Governor of Montelupich Prison sent a request to the City Sanitary Facility in Cracow to transport a body of a deceased prisoner to the Department of Descriptive Anatomy. In the situation of transporting 21 bodies of the executed prisoners he had to organize transport himself. Probably, American “Bedford” trucks (given by UNRRA) which were used for transporting criminals for the lawsuit in November and December 1947 in the building of National Museum in Cracow were used for transporting the bodies after the execution. Definitely, bodies were not transported in the same way as the bodies of executed criminals in Nuremberg which were just piled up in two cars. The Governor of Prison in his letter dated 24th January 1948 no. Dz.477/48 to the Department of Descriptive Anatomy of Jagiellonian Univeristy in Cracow informs:
“Do każdych zwłok jest doczepiona karteczka z nazwiskiem (…)”
Twenty one bodies of executed criminals were delegated with this letter and death certificates signed by a prison doctor Eryk Dormiecki.
The official letter regarding the delegation of the cinvicts' bodies to the Descriptive Anatomy Plant of Jagiellonian University Collegium Medicum in Cracov
On the same day, 24th January 1948 a meeting of writers who were ex-political prisoners was held in the same building at 12 Kopernika Steet in Cracow at 5 pm. There were i.e. Tadeusz Hołuj, a party activist, from 1956 a Secretary of the International Auschwitz Committee, Stanisław Szaja Wygodzki, who lost his parents, wife and daughter in Auschwitz concentration camp, Michał Rusinek, ex-prisoner of KL Mauthausen, later a Director of HR Department of the Ministry of Culture and Art and from 1948 a General Secretary of the Polish Writers’ Union. The meeting took place in Jagiellonian University Clinic building at 12 Kopernika Street. After two speeches of Michał Rusinek and Stanisław Wygodzki a “writers’ evening” started. During it passages from “Dymy nad Birkenau” by Seweryna Szmaglewska were read out. Probably no one was aware of the fact that there are bodies of murderers form KL Auschwitz just behind the wall.
The deputy Governor of the prison, Piotr Pazderski informed (letter no. 524/48) the Registry Office in Cracow that on 24th January 1948 twenty one prisoners died in the Central Montelupich Prison. He gave their personal data, religion, date and place of birth and address 28). Not all addresses were accurate. The Registry Office intervened and the prosecutor of District Court in Cracow, Jan Brandys asked The District Committee on German Crimes on 3rd February 1948 to give exact data of the deceased: Liebehenschel, Möckel, Kraus and Mandel (Mandl). The Committee corrected mistakes and completed required addresses: Liebehenschel – Wupperttal, Rheinland, Möckel – Berlin – Friedeman, Bubenstrasse 107, Kraus – Oberthalhofen, Kres Lindau, Rgb Schwaben, Kraus – town Oberthalhofen Kreis Lindau, Rgb Schwaben and Mandl, a village Munskirchen – which should be written Münzkirchen) in Upper Austria, not Mühldorf as it was given at first.
On 27th January 1948 the Prosecutor of the District Court in Cracow, M. Kulesza, sent twenty one protocols of executions to the Governor of the Central Prison in Cracow in order to attach them to prison documentation and in a letter he requested to sent the convicts belongings.
On 26th February 1948 The Prosecutor of the Supreme National Tribunal, Stefan Kurowski sent to the Supreme National Tribunal correspondence which was addressed to the convicts. There was a letter to Teresa Brandl, censored on 10th February 1948, which did not reach the recipient as she was executed. The author of the letter was Rosi Dolatschko, who was then in the internment camp 136 Goggingen-Augsburg in the American area in Germany. She must have known about Teresa’s death as she wrote (in German):
“Moja ukochana Reserl. Piszę do ciebie z ciężkim sercem i przytulam ciebie do mojego serca (…)”
On 27th February 1948 The District Committee on German Crimes in Cracow sent a request to the prosecutor of the District Court in Cracow to pass belongings of the executed criminals. The Committee highlighted the role of the convicts in developing and functioning of the famous concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.
“listy pisane przez tych skazanych przed śmiercią oraz pozostałe pisma (…)”
The request was supported by the Prosecutor of the Supreme National Tribunal Stefan Kurowski and on 17th March 1948 first possessions such as documents, letters, soldier uniforms and other belongings were taken from the Central Prison in Cracow. Other things were sent to the District Liquidation Office as confiscation. The list of belongings was preserved:
“1. Liebehenschel – 1 biblia niemiecka, 3 fotografie (…)” 29)
Therese Rosi Brandl and letter from Rosi Dolatschko
Bags with corpses on Rakowicki Cemetery
There is documentation in the book of burials of the Rakowicki Cemetery regarding the burial of the convicts executed in the Central Prison in Cracow on 24th January 1948. Workers of the Department of Descriptive Anatomy of Jagiellonian University in Cracow brought a few bags with remains of 16 bodies of KL Auschwitz criminals on 6th March1948. Alongside the bags sixteen death certificates as forms from the Department of Public Health in Cracow were brought. In the forms personal information, date, hour and place of death could be found. They were signed by the prison doctor Eryk Dormicki, lack of full personal data was confirmed by The Cracow Office of Census and acts of death were signed by the official from the Registry Office.
According to this documentation there were bodies of: Szczurek Paul, Brandl Teresa, Kohlmer Józef, Herbert Ludwik, Schumacher Hans, Bogusch August, Lätsch Otto, Heinrich Josten, Müller Kurt Hugo, Kirschner Herman, Götze Paul, Gehring Wilhelm, Plagge Ludwik, Buntrock Fritz, Mussfeld Erich and Möckel Karl from the number 497 to 312. It is easy to notice that there was a mistake in the documentation: names and surnames of Ludwig Herbert and Josten Heinrich were changed. The bodies were buried in the new part of cemetery near the fence from the northern side and next to the military cemetery according to the information found in the book of burials.
On 25th March 1948 more bags with remains of the bodies were brought from the Department of Descriptive Anatomy. Numbers 679, 680, 681, 682, 683 stood for the bodies of Grabner Maksymilian, Kraus Franz, Liebehenschel Artur, Aumaera (it should be: Aumeier) Hans and Mandel Maria. The workers of the cemetery buried the bodies in the same place where previous sixteen bodies were placed. The death certificates were left as well 30). I received the same information about the burial of executed criminals from the KL Auschwitz in the Institute of National Remembrance.
At this point I could finish the series of articles about responsibility of people who in a madness of ideological hate forgot that they will have to answer for their actions and be punished for what they had done.
But, we should think if it is possible that the bodies of executed criminals were in the Department of Descriptive Anatomy for less than two months. Why were they sent there if they became useless after two months? Was the teaching material for students wasted? What were the circumstances to allow wasting the teaching material? I directed these questions 10 years ago, in October 2006 to dr hab. Tomasz Konopka from the Forensic Medicine Plant in Cracow 31) and I received an extensive answer 32). According to it, teaching anatomy on fresh corpse which decompose fast is impossible. The preparation of material takes about six months and after this time they can be used as teaching material for students. The impregnation with formalin takes a few weeks. Bodies preserved in this way could serve for science purpose for a few years or even longer.
It helps us to understand why the bodies of 11 criminals from KL Stutthof hanged in public execution in Gdansk on 4th July 1946 were used as teaching material by medicine students in October 1947.
Whose bodies were brought to the Rakowicki Cemetery on 6th and 25th March 1948? They must have been someone’s else bodies if we take into consideration the fact that the process of impregnation with formalin takes a few weeks.
Death certificates and an excerpt from the book of burial from Rakowicki Cementary
Covering traces on Rakowicki Cemetery
The answer could be found in the article by Bogdan Gancarz ‘Were the remains of heroes found’ (“Czy odnaleźli szczątki bohaterów”) published on 9 July 2015 on websites: www.krakow.gosc.pl and www.radioem.pl . The author writes about finding the bodies of lieutenant colonel Alojzy Kaczmarczyk and major Walerian Tumanowicz on Rakowicki Cemetery in Cracow by the team of researchers from the Independent Faculty Research of the Institute of National Remembrance under the leadership of professor Krzysztof Szwagrzyk, a historian from Wroclaw.
Alojzy Kaczmarczyk, Józef Ostafin, Walerian Tumanowicz and professor Jan Kot from Bochnia 33), were activists of II “Freedom and Independence” Movement and were sentenced to death by the Military District Court in Cracow on 10th September 1947. Kaczmarczyk, Ostafin and Tumanowicz were executed in the Central Prison in Cracow in Montelupich Street on 13th November 1947.
Their bodies were sent to the Department of Descriptive Anatomy in Cracow as teaching material for students and then, they were buried in Rakowicki Cemetery under changed surnames – names and date of death remained the same. In the book of burials it can be found that Tumanowicz was buried as Zachariasiewicz, Ostafin as Słapak and Kaczmarczyk as Maczyszyn. The professor Szwagrzyk’s team of researchers found the remains of Tumanowicz and Kaczmarczyk in a nameless grave in LXXIX tomb in the part of cemetery from Prandoty Street. Józef Ostafin was buried in another part of the cemetery and his remains are so far not found.
In the same article we can read about (a citation) the places of burial of victims of post-war terror in the old part of the cemetery in tombs: XIb, XVb, XVII, XIXb, XX, XXIa, XXVb, LX, LXXV and LXXVIII… In the years 1948-1954 bodies were buried only in the military part of the cemetery, in tombs: LXXIX, LXXXI, LXXXII, LXXXIII, LXXXIV and LXXXVI… Creating prisoner tombs in the military part could be perceived as an attempt to hide this kind of burials. The decision was probably made by security authorities. The most interesting part of this article is cited below:
“5 marca 1948 r. ciała trzech straconych pochowano …na skwerze pod parkanem od strony północnej razem z Niemcami pochowanymi 6 marca 1948 r.(…)”
According to the book of burials the Germans who were buried in this place on 6th March 1948 were sixteen executed criminals form KL Auschwitz and on 25th march 1948 next five criminals were buried there. For some time workers of the cemetery showed the square in the northern part as the place where KL Auschwitz-Birkenau criminals were buried. Probably, they were convinced that this was the right place of the German criminals burial. Later, it was decided to remove the remains to the other area of the cemetery – as one of the workers told me a few years ago. He assumed that it was about covering the traces of German presence on Polish land, exactly how it was done in Bochnia, where a tomb with Wermacht soldiers was liquidated. But after exhumations done by the Institute of National Remembrance we can be sure that it was about covering the traces of cursed soldiers.
Dr Ludwikowski case
On 25th June 1949 a twenty-two year old student of medicine Jerzy Ludwikowski from Nowy Wisnicz was taking a practical anatomy exam in the Department of Descriptive Anatomy at Jagiellonian University. In an interview done by the author of the article34) he says:
“Na studia medyczne zdawałem w lipcu 1947 r. (…)”
Just like other students, Ludwikowski was very stressed about the exam. He came into the room and was given a task to make a foramen ovale in inguinal canal of femoral artery. There was a body of a woman of a strong and muscular build. He focused on carrying out the task:
“Za płytko naciąłem skórę I byłbym się przejechał na tym egzaminie, gdyby nie egzaminator, który powiedział: Przecież to można głębiej naciąć, widzisz jaką ona ma grubą tkankę tłuszczową ….Kiedy wychodziłem z sali egzaminator zapytał mnie czy wiem, że preparowałem trupa Marii Mandel, komendantki z KL Auschwitz powieszonej na Montelupich (…)”
Goszczyński knew that his friend Ludwikowski had been a few times on lawsuits of Auschwitz crew, because he was given tickets from Władek Cygankiewicz. He talked about his feelings after the trials and maybe that is why he was told whose body he was working on during the exam. As Ludwikowski said:
“Po mnie zdawał Staszek Krupa i powiedział, że (…)”
Dr Konopka wrote regarding this case:
“Aby odsłonić mięśnie… można wykluczyć aby ciało Marii Mandel ora innych nazistów pochowano po dwóch miesiącach, jako wykorzystane w dydaktyce (…)
Jerzy Ludwikowski said that all bodies were just teaching material for students so there was no excitement about them. He did not know if other criminals were used as material for students. In his opinion it was an inexpensive but needed way to gain teaching material.
“Prawdę mówiąc mogliśmy nawet kroić także naszych kolegów…Przemka Helda z oddziału „Salwy” (…)”
Twenty one bodies of KL Auschwitz criminals sent to the Department of Descriptive Anatomy at 12 Kopernika Street might have been used as teaching material for a few years, but in the accounts we can find information only about two convicts: Maria Mandel and Artur Liebehenschel. Students of Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow also used bodies of KL Auschwitz monsters.
Dr Jerzy Ludwikowski from Wisnicz - a photo from 2009 by S. Kobiela
In the hands of Art students
Wojciech Plewiński before becoming an architect and famous Polish photographer, studied sculpture at Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow. He was led by professor Stanisław Popławski at Xawier Dunikowski Faculty of Sculpture. One of the lecturers was a medicine doctor who could speak beautifully about human muscles and Plewiński till present day – as Katarzyna Kosiorowska writes (34) – remembers which muscle is responsible for what movement. He took his students for classes in a dissecting-room at Academy of Medicine in Kopernika Street at the end of 1948, so just after the trial of KL Auschwitz criminals. In the interview for Katarzyna Kosiorowska 35) Plewiński says:
“Weszliśmy do dużej sali pełnej stołów…Pamiętam rudego, o byczym karku esesmana i młodą, ładną kobietę, pewnie to była Maria Mandel oprawczyni z Brzezinki (…)
Plewiński recalls a situation when Józef Szajna was a prisoner of KL Auschwitz. He wanted to run away from the camp but he was caught. He was sent to Stehzelle – a cell where a prisoner had to stand. He was sentenced to two weeks in that cell and then, to execution by shooting. As he was standing in front of the Wall of Death he heard that the punishment of number 18 729 was changed from death penalty to life sentence in penal company. Plewiński recalls a meeting of Józef Szajna with a person who saved him from death in that dissecting-room in the autumn of 1948:
“na jednym z pierwszych zajęć z anatomii na wydziale grafiki…spotkał komendanta obozu Auschwitz Artura Liebehenschla (…)”
Right leg of Oberaufsherin Mandel
In 2009 a ‘Subjective contribution to the history of Polish medicine’ (“Subiektywny przyczynek do dziejów kolebki polskiej medycyny”) titled: ‘Madame, we put back a child’ (“Madame, wkładamy dziecko z powrotem”) was released by Anabasis Publishing House in Cracow. The authors of this light encyclopedia of medicine are: Katarzyna Siwiec, Mieczysław Czuma and Leszek Mazan. It is a great collection of interesting material and recollections. One of them, titled ‘Right leg of Oberaufseherin Mandel’ on pages 445-446 is about the body of Maria Mandel which was used as teaching material for students of medicine. The authors recall her surprising cry “Niech żyje Polska” (Es lebe Polen). They wrote also that her body was well remembered by the students who were practicing on it.
“Na jej zwłokach zdawał kolokwium z anatomii, preparując prawą nogę zbrodniarki …prof. Zdzisław Marek (…)”
The last sentence about Nazi bodies used as teaching material in 1970s seems to be untrue. Dr Tomasz Konopka in previously mentioned letter from 7th October 2006 writes that new students needed complete bodies to practice and old ones were used just for fragmentary preparations of i.e. spine or arm. As a result of great damage fragments of bodies which could not be used were collected in a few coffins. As he writes:
“Na pewno zdarzała się sytuacja, kiedy grzebano na cmentarzu szczątki osób, których inne części ciała nadal pozostawały w Zakładzie (…)
to be continued
* * *
I would like to express my greatest gratitude to major Tomasz Wacławek, a spokesman of the District Inspectorate Prison in Cracow, the head and workers of the Meteorology and Water Management Institute in Cracow as well as the Management of Rakowicki Cemetery in Cracow for help throughout writing this article.
1) Sentence of the Supreme National Tribunal from 22nd December 1947 no. NTN 5-47 was of great importance to Polish courts which were trying war crimes. The Decree from 31st August 1944 on punishments for fascist and Nazi criminals found guilty of murders, tortures of civilians and prisoners of war (Dz. U. 1944 no position 16) which was also called ‘the August Decree’ was introduced on the day of its announcement – 13th September 1944 and had a retroactive effect from 1st September 1939 to 9th May 1945 as an exception to the rule lex retro non agit. It referred to deeds ex tunc (retroactive action) just like similar decrees introduced in other European countries. Some communities which were defending criminals guilty of war crimes were against the Decree as it infringed the rule lex retro non agit. But the Supreme National Tribunal and the Prosecutors Office decided on double qualification of war crimes on the basis of the August Decree and the penal code from 1932. The sentence referred to the August Decree and legal article 225 of penal code (art. 225 k.k). The Tribunal decided that ‘taking part in killing people’ which is described in legal article 1 of the August Decree means taking part in selecting people for extermination, contributing to damaging prisoners’ health (by starvation, inadequate clothing and cells for prisoners), exploitation of workforce, management of gas chambers and crematoriums, sending prisoners to gas chambers. To decide if the perpetrators were guilty it was necessary to prove that they were harming people protected by the decree, that their actions were leading to the deprivation of life of that people and that they were aware that their actions may lead to committing a crime.
2) see Janusz Głowacki, Tadeusz Kulakowski. Zbrodniarze hitlerowscy przed Najwyższym Trybunałem Narodowym. Warsaw 1965 p. 172
3) The head of Judicial Supervision Z. Kapniak enlists also convicts who were not pardoned but he makes mistakes in a surname of John Pauls – written as LAULS and Jenny-Wanda Birkmann as BERKMANN in the Department of Justice judicial writ from 28th June 1946 to the Special Criminal Court in Gdansk
4) Professor Stefan Kurowski’s answer to Larry Allen from 15th January 1948: Dear Sir Larry Allen, the Head of The Associated Press in Warsaw. In response to your letter from 13th January I would like to inform you that all convicts found guilty in the lawsuit made appeals. The President of Poland pardoned just two of the convicts: dr Kremer Johann Paul and Breitwiese Artur Jan, changing death penalty to life sentence. The rest of convicts will be executed in coming days. The Prosecutor of the District court in Cracow, dr Mieczyslaw Szewczyk will be a supervisor of executions. (signed) Stefan Kurowski, the first Prosecutor of the Supreme National Tribunal.
5) British marshal Montgomery rejected appeals of 11 criminals sentenced to death from KL Belsen on 10th December 1945. British press informed about that fact the same day and executions took place on 13th December 1945 in Hameln prison near Hanover in the British zone of occupation.
6) The author of this article interviewed Eugeniusz Zawada on 20th July 2004 – see S.K. collections
7) Stanisława Rachwałowa. The meeting with Maria Mandel [in: Przegląd Lekarski Oświęcimski no. 1/1990]. Sentenced to life imprisonment by the Military District Court in Cracow, decision no. Sr 1157-47 (sygn..akt Sr 1157/47). The Central Military Court did not confirm the punishment on 21st November 1947 and the sentence was changed to death penalty by the Military District Court in Cracow on 30th December 1947 no. Sr 1619/47 (sygn..akt Sr 1619/47). Filip Musiał. Wyrok w sprawie Stanisławy Rachwał. Zeszyty Historyczne WiN, no. 17.2002.
8) The CIA report based on account of German ex-soldier of Waffen-SS and prisoner of the Central Prison in Cracow in Motelupich Street – written in English Life And Conditions In MONTELUPICH Prison. ITEM O. 09439/53 JU 18 Sept I/11247 POLAND.
9) In the history of post-war prison history there was one incident in the prison in Gdansk (Kurkowa Street) in first days of July 1946 when an WUBP officer (the Provincial Office of Public Safety) Jan Wołkow came into cells for women and men sentenced to death for crimes committed in the Stutthof concentration camp and shouted: ‘You …. all are going to be hanged!’. After that incident, a KL Stutthof “Wiślanka” subcamp commandant cut his throat with a piece of glass and five women were tied to their beds in order to prevent them from committing suicides before a public execution which took place on 4th July 1946 on Solzenberg hill in Gdansk. (an interview with Alojzy Nowicki, 30th September 2005 in Bochnia – see S.K)
10) Probably because of haste religion of each priest was not written down in the letter. A Catholic priest Marian Stark and Evangelical pastor Karol Grych were present during executions.
11) Later this building was transformed into a laundry and archives
12) see footnote no. 8
13) In 1948 meteorological observations were run just by the Jagiellonian University Observatory in Kopernika Street. The measurements were taken three times a day: at 6.40 am, 1.40 pm, 8.40 pm. On 24th January 1943 (???) at 6.40 the temperature was – 3,4 degrees Celsius, air humidity – 87% , east wind direction, wind speed 2m/s, visibility 4, cloudiness: clouds Ac (Altocumulis), atmospheric phenomena: fog, hoarfrost, At 1.40 pm the temperature was 3,2 degrees Celsius, air humidity fell to 79%, visibility improved to 20, but cloudiness was present, wind was stronger 3m/s. At night from 2w4/25th January there was 1 cm snow layer. Information IMGW-PIB Cracow regarding 24th January 1948.
14) Stanisław Kobiela. W jednej celi z komendantem KL Auschwitz. Wywiad z Edwardem Kurtyką. [In: Wiadomości Bocheńskie no. 3/2013 page 27] see www.bochniacy.pl
15) Last moments of KL Auschwitz criminals before their execution and a famous „kick” were described by professor Władysław Fejkiel (1911-1995), an ex-prisoner and doctor from Auschwitz camp area no. 5647 (later a vice-rector at Medical Academy in Cracow 1963-1965) in his short book. He also told the story to Mr. Paczyński, a head of Auschwitz Association in Cracow. Prof. Fekiel was not present during the execution but he could know the details from the prosecutor M. Kulesza or a prison doctor Eryk Dormicki. Mr. Paczyński told me a story of Kazimierz Szelest, ex-prisoner of KL Auschwitz, who as a political prisoner was kept in one cell with Artur Liebehenschel for some time (until 18th January 1948). See footnote no. 14
16) She started her executioner’s career in KL Lichtenburg as a SS-Aufseherin, from 1939-1942 in KL Ravensbruck as a superintendent of a camp jail and from …to SS-Oberaufseherin, from January 1942-1944 in KL Auschwitz as a SS-Lagerführerin
17) Dr Marian Stark was a priest of Congregation of Priests Missionaries, he obtained a PhD in moral theology at Warsaw University, he was a spiritual father at Latin Metropolitan Seminary in Lwow and a professor of moral theology at Theology Institute of Priests Missionaries in Cracow and at The Major Seminary of Gorzow Diocese and Goscikow-Paradyz. He died on 30th October 1984.
18) Andrzej Gass. Rudolf Höss, komendant Auchwitz na szubienicy – Fokus-HIstoria 06.02.2008, see historia.focus.pl/wojny/Rudolf-hoess-komendant-auschwitz-na-szubienicy-214
19) I was told about those concurrent cries in 1985 by the prosecutor Jan Brandys during an interview, which was used in my and Przemysław Konieczny article titled ‘To był rzetelny proces’. It was published in TEMI Paper on 27th January 1985. Jan Brandys, the prosecutor in the trial of KL Auschwitz-Birkenau crew in Cracow was not present during the execution but he found out about the cries from prof. M. Kulesza and the prosecutor J.Pęchalski. Those two cries confirm that hanging of the first five convicts was (almost) simultaneous.
20) Paul Szczurek was a Polish citizen of German origin. He was born in Krolewska Huta (now Chorzow) in Upper Silesia, he was a steel worker and a non-com of Polish Army. From 1939 to 1940 he was in SS. (Oswald Kaduk was born in the same town, he was sentenced to life imprisonment in II trial of KL Auschwitz-Bikenau crew in 1965)
21) in collections of custody in Montelupich Street in Cracow
22) see footnote no.8
23) Stanisława Rachwałowa described Aumeier in a slightly different way: a thin, pointy nose, gloomy eyes, small eyebrows, brown eyes, bandy legs, screeching voice when he spoke with Bavarian accent and a person with a huge temperament.
24) Using bodies of prisoners executed as teaching material is a long tradition. Regulation of the Minster of Social Welfare regarding a burial of dead and establishing cause of death was in power till 1948. It was changed in 1959 and is in power till present day.
25) Extraction of medical departments and changing them into medical academies happened in Warsaw, Cracow and a few other universities just in 1950. In Gdansk the Medical Academy was established in 1945, in Bialystok in 1948. In Cracow the Pharmacy Faculty, which was a part of Mathematics and Science Department at Jagiellonian University, was joined to the Medical Academy.
26) On 4th July 1946 eleven bodies of criminals executed on Solzberg hill were brought to the Anatomy and Neurobiology Plant of Medical Academy in Gdansk. There were bodies of: Johan Pauls, Jan Breit, Tadeus Kozłowkiego, Józef Reiter, Franciszek Szopiński, Jenny Barkmann, Ewa Paradies, Elizabeth Becker, Wanda Klaff and Gerda Steinhoff, but as an anonymnous body with a note: a prisoner, sentence. Hanging on Solzenberg h. They were used by students during anatomy classes in October 1946. Marek Orski. Zbrodniarze obozu koncentracyjnego Stutthol w Więzieniu Karno_Śledczym w Gdańsku w 1946. Egzekucja 4.VII.1946. Aktualny stan wiedzy. [in: Więzienie w Gdańsku w systemach represji „Przegląd Więziennictwa Polskiego” no. 46. Warsaw-Gdansk 2005. Special Edition p. 133]
27) see O miejscach pochówków ofiar komunizmu w Polsce. An interview with Krzysztof Szwagrzyk by Barbara Polak [In: Biuletyn IPN no. 7/2003 p. 11]
28) In this report prison administration listed among 21 deceased (executed) five atheists (Aumeier, Josten, Kraus, Szczurek and Götze), ten memebers of Evangelical church, one God believer Buntrock and eight Roman Catholics: Grabner, Brandl and Maria Mandel among them. The latter when brought to prison declared herself as an atheist, then she claimed that she denied the faith during Mühldorf bombing and she became a God believer (Gottgläubig). After a conversation with an investigating judge Jan Sehn she claimed that she converted. For administration workers a God believer (Gottgläubig) was a person recognized as a believer of God, so a Catholic. German Faith Movement was an occultist faith present in III Reich, a mixture of Hinduism and Germanic beliefs. Its symbol was sun and its rites consisted of ideological sermons soaked with hate towards Christianity while listening to Wagner music. It was supported by Himmler and supporters of this faith called themselves “God believers” (Gottgläubig). It developed at the beginning of 1930s in Germany.
29) One of these photographs of Carl Möckel’s wife and daughter was published in an interesting article Dwa światy w więziennych teczkach by Joanna Lubecka, Biuletyn IPN no. 8-9/2011 p. 147
30) Death certificates of KL Auschwitz criminals are kept in archives at Rakowicki Cemetery in Cracow
31) Dr hab. Tomasz Konopka, a head of Forensic Medicine Plant of Jagiellonian University Collegium Medicium, performed autopsy of gen. Władysław Sikorski’s body, took part in exhumation of Home Army soldiers killed by NKWD (The People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs) in Turza near Rzeszow and in search of bodies of soldiers from “Bartek” group killed by UB (The security Office), he ran a forensic and medical analysis of 15 male and female corpses killed in a ritual slaughter, found in Koszyce in Malopolska with symmetrical skull injuries which helped to solve the mystery of ritual slaughter from a few thousand years ago, from the period of Globular Amphora Culture. He prepared and published archival materials form Forensic Medical Plant from 1945-1947 showing a fight of the underground with communist authority. He wrote an excellent work “Okupacja Krakowa 1939-1945 w protokołach sekcyjnych Zakładu Medycyny Sądowej” together with Paweł Kwasek and Maciej Bochenek.
32) A letter in the author’s collecions. Dr Tomasz Konopka writes that only in 1933 there was a case when a body of an executed prisoner was brought to the Forensic Medicine Plant. As an inventory book shows, a skeleton was extracted from it and used as teaching material for nearly 50 years. A pair of gloves which belonged to the executioner was fixed to the support of the skeleton. There was a huge demand for bodies which could be used as teaching material in the Department of Descriptive Anatomy. In the building of the Department of Descriptive Anatomy there are a lot of dissecting-rooms and at least one body should be in each of them.
33) professor Jan Kot was sentenced to death three times, he was moved to the prison in Wronki, released in March 1957. He died in Bochnia in 1992.
34) Jerzy Ludwikowski (12.03.1927-17.10.2013) a doctor, general practitioner, soldier of NOW-AK, nickname “Kmicic”, “Stefan”, decorated with Home Army Cross, WP medal from London, during occupation colportage of conspiracy press in 1944-1945 in OP “Sczerbiec”. He took part in Feldkasse action in Nowy Wisnicz. After the war he was not revealed, he studied medicine at Jagiellonian Univerisity, arrested. He obtained a degree in 1964. He worked in the District Hospital in Bochnia, the head of Health Center in Nowy Wisnicz. He was decorated with Home Army Cross, WP medal from London, Order of Polonia Restituta, Wisnicz Hercules, a honorous citizen of Nowy Wisnicz. He was a member of Wisnicz Lovers Association, vice-president of International Home Army Soldiers Association in Bochnia. I intervied him for the first time on 3rd May 1995 in Nowy Wisnicz. see Stanisław Kobiela. Tajemnice lekarza [in: Wiadomości Bocheńskie no. 4 (31) 1996 pp. 11-13, 21-25]
35) Katarzyna Kosiorowska Kociaki to masa roboty – an interview with a famous photographer Wojciech Plewiński titled Kociaki to masa roboty published in Duży Format „Gazeta Wyborcza” (Internet edition) 17.06.2012 www.wyborcza.pl/duzyformat.
Translated by Paulina Wnęk-Dzieża
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