Polish Language Blog

Director of Auschwitz museum has died Posted by on Jan 27, 2012 in Culture, Current News, Places to visit, Uncategorized

Kazimierz Smoleń, a former prisoner of Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, passed away on The International Day of Remembrance for the Victims of the Holocaust.  He was 91 years old.

Kazimierz Smoleń was born on April 19, 1920 in Chorzów Stary. He was sent to the concentration camp for underground activities in Chorzów in one of the first transports of Polish prisoners. He was given a number 1327. Kazimierz Smoleń was also imprisoned in Mauthausen.

After the war Kazimierz Smoleń graduated from law at the Catholic University and worked for the Main Commission for Investigation of Nazi Crimes. He appeared as a witness and an expert in many trials of war criminals, inter alia in Nuremberg and Frankfurt.

He was a co-founder and a director (1955-1990) of the State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau. He was also a long time secretary general and deputy chairman of the International Auschwitz Committee.

He once explained his decision to return to the camp to manage it as a way of honoring those who were killed there:

“Sometimes when I think about it, I feel it may be some kind of sacrifice, some kind of obligation I have for having survived,” he said.

Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)

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About the Author: Kasia

My name is Kasia Scontsas. I grew near Lublin, Poland and moved to Warsaw to study International Business. I have passion for languages: any languages! Currently I live in New Hampshire. I enjoy skiing, kayaking, biking and paddle boarding. My husband speaks a little Polish, but our daughters are fluent in it! I wanted to make sure that they can communicate with their Polish relatives in our native language. Teaching them Polish since they were born was the best thing I could have given them! I have been writing about learning Polish language and culture for Transparent Language’s Polish Blog since 2010.