Three days apart, stories of survival and revolt in Auschwitz


The latest "Seeking Kin" genealogy column revisits a story of survival at Auschwitz-Birkenau that took place on Oct. 9, 1944.  The Auschwitz Memorial Museum shares via Facebook a story that took place two days earlier: 

On October 7, 1944, the biggest and most spectacular mutiny and escape attempt in the history of Auschwitz occurred. Jews in the Sonderkommando at Auschwitz II-Birkenau organized it. They set crematorium IV on fire, causing serious damage, and attacked the SS men in the vicinity. Some of the prisoners managed to cut through the fence and reach the outside, but unfortunately the SS managed to pursue and surround them, murdering them all. A total of about 250 Jews died fighting, including mutiny leaders Załmen Gradowski and Józef Deresiński. The SS lost three men killed and more than ten wounded. Later, four Jewish women who had stolen explosive material from the Union-Werke armaments factory and supplied it to the Sonderkommando conspirators were hanged in public.

In the picture: a report from a local police station in Oświęcim considering the revolt of prisoners from the Sonderkommando on October 7, 1944. It says about an escape of "a large number of prisoners" from the Sonderkommando at 2 p.m., a description of the prisoners and information that some prisoners were shot during the chase. At the end the report says that 4 prisoners were not captured at that time. 

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