Escape from KL Auschwitz

The first escape from Auschwitz took place on July 6, 1940, at the very beginning of its existence. It was conducted by a Pole, Tadeusz Wiejowski, with the help of his compatriots who were employed in the camp as so-called civilian workers. Unfortunately, a few Polish laborers for their help were imprisoned in the camp where one of them survived but died just after the war.
The camp was ruled by the Home Army (AK) organization, which in the fall of 1941 took care of seven escaped Soviet prisoners of war, two of whom were taken in and the rest were thrown to the guerrillas in the mountains. On December 29, 1942, the AK organization helped three Poles (Jan Komski-Baraś, Bolesław Kuczbara, Mieczysław Januszewski) and a German (Otto Kusel) to escape. They managed to leave the camp in a horse-drawn carriage. One of the escapees was dressed in an SS uniform, which helped them to escape.
A new escape took place on June 20, 1942, when four Poles escaped, Kazimierz Piechowski, Stanisław Gustaw Jaster, Józef Lempart and Eugeniusz Bendera. Dressed up as SS men, they drove away in a car stolen from the SS garages, earlier robbing a warehouse with weapons. One of the fugitives (Jaster) took a report about the camp drawn up by Witold Pilecki for the Home Army Headquarters.
The next fugitives were taken over by partisans from the Home Army in 1943, among others the Jew Josef Prim from Brno and Serbo Vasil Mlavic. The first of them joined this unit and fought in its ranks.
On the night of April 26-27, 1943, Witold Pilecki, Jan Redzej and Edward Ciesielski fled the camp. Pilecki presented to the Home Army his plan of attack on the camp, which, however, was not approved by the command. Pilecki was a co-creator of the camp conspiracy, he included his activities in the camp resistance movement in special reports. He fought in the Warsaw Uprising in 1944, and after its fall he was sent to the POW camp in Murnau. Pilecki returned to Poland at the end of 1945 but was arrested and sentenced to death by the communist authorities in 1947.

In April 1944, two Jews from Slovakia escaped from Auschwitz – Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Wetzler. They met secretly with representatives of the Slovak Jewish Council in Żylin and gave extensive accounts of the camp. In September 1944, Józef Wrona, an inhabitant of Nowa Wieś, organized the escape of two Jewish prisoners (Max Drimmer and Hermann Scheingesicht) from a chemical factory belonging to the German IG Farbenindustrie concern. Wrona was wanted by the Gestapo and was forced to hide, but he found refuge with friends in another town in Silesia, where they lived to see freedom.
In September 1944, two groups of 11 Poles each escaped from Auschwitz with the help of Zofia Zdrowak from Brzeszcze and Zofia Gabryś from Bielany, as well as a partisan of the Sosienka unit of Marian Mydlarz from Oświęcim. Several of them wore SS uniforms. The escaped men joined the partisan unit of Sosienki and carried out activities on behalf of Auschwitz prisoners.
Not all escapes, however, ended in success. One of them was planned for October 27, 1944 and ended tragically. The betrayal of the bribed SS man, who was supposed to take prisoners out of the camp in a truck, led to the murder of the would-be escapees and other prisoners who helped them escape.
The escape of a Pole, Edward Galiński, and a Jewish girl, Mali Zimetbaum, who escaped on June 24, 1944, was also a failure. Galiński managed to get Zimetbaum out of the closed camp zone disguised as an SS man. After a dozen or so days, however, they were captured, sent back to the camp and executed after a cruel investigation. A month later, the same escape option was repeated, this time with success. On July 21, 1944. A Pole, Jerzy Bielecki, dressed as an SS man, led a Jewish woman, Cyla Cybulska, out of the camp. When they both reached the GG luckily, Bielecki joined the partisans, and the Poles hid Cybulska until the end of the war.


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