While in Poland for World Youth Day, Pope Francis meets with 10 former prisoners from the Nazi-run Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps.
Upon arrival, the Pope was greeted by Prime Minister Beata Szydlo. Afterwards, he met the one of the oldest survivors in attendance, Dunicz Niwiska, 101, she is a Polish Violinist. He greeted each of the former Auschwitz-Birkenau prisoners one-by-one.
Past Prisoners of the German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp
Auschwitz-Birkenau who met Pope Francis on July 29
DUNICZ NIWISKA HELENA, born in 1915, in Viena, camp number 64118, polish violinist, classical music literature translator. Her hometown was Lviv, where till 1943 she was living with her parents and brothers. She was arrested together with her mother, Maria Dunicz, in January 1943 . She was brought to Auschwitz on the 3rd of October in1943 from Lviv. As a violinist she became a member of an orchestra in a Auschwitz II-Birkenau camp. Her mother has died two months later, on December 1943. In January 1945 during a "death march” she was evacuated in KL Ravensbruck, and then to Neustadt-Glewe, where she regained her freedom. After war she started to live in Cracow. In 2013 thanks to National Publishing of Auschvitz-Birkenau Museum appeared her book "One of the Girls in the Band”.
FROS ALOJZY, born in 1916 in Rybnik, camp number 136223. Arrested in April 1943, because of conspiracy work. Deported to Auschwitz on August 9th, 1943. During the first two months, as an ill person, he was in the camp hospital. After that he was hired to sort the packages for the prisoners. During the Autumn of 1944 he was transferred to KL Sachsenhausen (number 115773), and then to KL Buchenwald (number 96935), liberated in April 1945. In 2015 his memoir was published titled: "My story”.
IWASKA JANINA, born in 1916 in Warsaw, camp number 85595. In August 12th, 1944 brought to KL Auschwitz in a vehicle for civilians from the Warsaw Uprising Evacuated in January 1945 to KL Ravensbruck, then to Neustadt-Glewe, where she was liberated.
PROFESSOR DUGOBORSKI WACAW, who was born in 1926 in Warsaw, camp number 138871. He was arrested in May 1943 in Warsaw for a conspiracy activity. On August 25, 1943 Transported from the prison "Pawiak" and deported to Auschwitz. Employed in the camp hospital in Birkenau until the end of January 1945. After the departure of evacuation transports, he escaped from the camp. After the war he worked as a university researcher and research curator at the State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau.
PROFESSOR KCZKOWSKI ZBIGNIEW born in 1921 in Cracow, camp number 125727, was arrested in April 1943 under a false name Kaczanowski. In June 24th he was sent to Auschwitz. His mother Zofia, who died in the camp was employed in the camp hospital at Auschwitz I, as a nurse. In July 27, 1944 he escaped from the camp but was captured and imprisoned in Block 11, then deported to Buchenwald, where he was transferred to Ravensbrück. After the war he was working as a university researcher.
LESIAK STEFAN was born in 1927 in Piczów, camp number 197204. On the 17th of September in 1944 he was deported to Auschwitz, under a false name Wesiak. He was transported in a vehicle for civilians from the Warsaw Uprising. A month later he transferred to Buchenwald, where in April 1945 he was freed.
NIKODEM VALENTINA was born in 1922 in Lodz, camp number 8737. She was brought on the 16th of July in 1942 to Auschwitz with her mother who died in the camp because her father killed the Gestapo in Lodz. In the camp she worked in the camp packaging department, she helped women who gave birth to children in the camp and was the godmother of some of those infants. On 26 October 1944 she was transferred to Flossenbürg and regained freedom in May 1945.
MAJEROWICZ MARIAN was born in 1926 in a Jewish family in Myszków, camp number 157715 in October 1943. He was brought to Auschwitz, where his parents and little brother died. In January of 1944 he was taken to the Gross-Rosen, liberated during the death march from the camp in 1945. He is the President of the Association of Jewish Veterans and Victims of World War II in Warsaw.
UMLAUF EVA (74 years old), camp number A-26959, was brought to Auschwitz as a two-year-old child with her family in November 1944 from Sered. Her mother was liberated from Auschwitz, since she was pregnant at the time of arrival to the camp. She gave birth to a daughter Eleonora, in April 1945.
FÜRST NAFTALI was born in 1932. In Bratislava, camp number B-14026, he was deported to Auschwitz on the 3rd of November 1944. From Sered, he was evacuated in January 1945 to Buchenwald and liberated there. He lives in Israel. He is the author of the book "Wie Kohlestücke in den Flammen des Schreckens - eine Familie überlebt den Holocaust"
RAUCH PETER was born in1939. In Munich, camp number Z-3531; He lived with his parents and five sisters in Munich, where his father ran his own business in shipping. On the 8th of March 1943. His whole family was arrested and deported to Auschwitz II-Birkenau. Peter and his mother were transferred first to Ravensbrück, then to Mauthausen and Bergen-Belsen. There, in 1945. He was liberated and returned to his hometown.