Pierwszy transport więźniów do obozu Fot. Auschwitz.org

Prisoners survived two concentration camps. They died in British bombings.

Almost 30 men from the first transport to KL Auschwitz lost their lives in the Allied bombing of German ships in the Bay of Lubeck on 3rd May 1945. Five days later, the Third Reich surrendered.

The Germans brought the first transport of 728 Polish prisoners from Tarnow to KL Auschwitz on 14th June 1940. This is the date considered to be the beginning of the German concentration camp.

Shortly afterwards, the occupiers evicted Poles from their homes in Brzezinka, Harmęże, Pławy, Bor, Rajsko, Klucznikowice, Babice, Broszkowice and the Zasole neighbourhood of Oświęcim. In the place of farms, the German camp KL Auschwitz with surrounding facilities was created.

Fewer than half of those in the first transport survived the camp and the war. Approximately 70 were released, and about 30 escaped. The fate of over 100 remains unknown. The list of the names is continuously being updated as new information is discovered.

It is hard to believe the following story, but it did, in fact, take place. Almost 30 men who had been brought to Auschwitz by the Germans survived the hell of the camp before being moved to KL Neuengamme in Hamburg. Then along with other prisoners they were made to board ships located in the Bay of Lubeck by the Germans at the end of April 1945. They were killed on 3rd May 1945 along with 6000 other victims by units of the British Airforce who were convinced that the German Army was onboard the ships.

One of the youngest to die that day in the Bay of Lubeck was Waldemar Rowiński – he was only 22. One of the oldest – Maciej Suwada – was 43 years old. The fate of Władysław Jaskold-Gabszewicz was rather more complicated. Brought to KL Auschwitz on 14th June 1940, he was released from the camp on 23rd April 1942. To date, source research has failed to reveal why he was transported to KL Neuengamme. He too was one of the victims of the bombing of the ships.

The list of prisoners from the first transport to Auschwitz prepared by the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum shows 26 people with a note by their name that they died in the Bay of Lubeck. They are (with their camp numbers shown in brackets):

Mieczysław Popkiewicz (36)

Tadeusz Sieprawski (58)

Ludwik Grąz (82)

Mieczysław Ciapała (98)

Edward Drzał (129)

Antoni Grossman (131)

Stanisław Barański (132)

Jan Grębocki (136)

Adam Nahurski (186)

Stanisław Sowiński (266)

Władysław Jaskold-Gabszewicz (309)

Tadeusz Wojciechowski (319)

Wacław Szarek (336)

Jan Snieżek (352)

Emil Barański (377)

Franciszek Jasiewicz (411)

Antoni Gąska (461)

Marian Wyskiel (463)

Mieczysław Bieda (488)

Waldemar Rowiński (621)

Zdzisław Drzał (628)

Tomasz Cisowski (656)

Mirosław (lub Mikołaj) Mitula (659)

Maciej Suwada (674)

Władysław Cieślikowski (683)

Piotr Koziejko (742)

Pierwszy transport więźniów do obozu Fot. Auschwitz.org

Fot. Auschwitz.org

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