czeslawa kwoka

Czesława Kwoka in 1942, aged 14. 

Czesława Kwoka was born in 1928, and died of unknown causes in 1943 in Auschwitz concentration camp. Wilhelm Brasse took this photo for the Auschwitz records, and when ordered to destroy them, William and others saved some of the photographs.

But until Wilhelm Brasse told me his extraordinary story I had no idea how the photograph came to be taken. His voice trembles as he recounts what happened.

‘She was so young and so terrified. The girl didn’t understand why she was there and she couldn’t understand what was being said to her.

So this woman Kapo (a prisoner overseer) took a stick and beat her about the face. This German woman was just taking out her anger on the girl. Such a beautiful young girl, so innocent. She cried but she could do nothing.’

Before the photograph was taken, the girl dried her tears and the blood from the cut on her lip. 'To tell you the truth, I felt as if I was being hit myself but I couldn’t interfere. It would have been fatal for me. You could never say anything.’

“Czeslawa Kwoka, age 14, appears in a prisoner identity photo provided by the Auschwitz Museum, taken by Wilhelm Brasse while working in the photography department at Auschwitz, the Nazi-run death camp where some 1.5 million people, most of them Jewish, died during World War II. Czeslawa was a Polish Catholic girl, from Wolka Zlojecka, Poland, who was sent to Auschwitz with her mother in December of 1942. Within three months, both were dead. Photographer (and fellow prisoner) Brasse recalled photographing Czeslawa in a 2005 documentary: ‘She was so young and so terrified. The girl didn’t understand why she was there and she couldn’t understand what was being said to her. So this woman Kapo (a prisoner overseer) took a stick and beat her about the face. This German woman was just taking out her anger on the girl. Such a beautiful young girl, so innocent. She cried but she could do nothing. Before the photograph was taken, the girl dried her tears and the blood from the cut on her lip. To tell you the truth, I felt as if I was being hit myself but I couldn’t interfere. It would have been fatal for me.’”

(AP)

In memory of Czeslawa Kwoka

Czeslawa Kwoka was born on 15th August 1928. Her parents were farmers in small village Wólka Złojecka near Zamošč in south-eastern part of Poland. Her father Pawel died before 2nd World war.

In 1942 Nazis decided to germanise this part of Poland. In november 1942 Czeslawa and her mother Katarzyna were moved in transit camp in Zamošč. On 13th December Czeslawa and her mother were deported to Auschwitz. 

When she arrived to Auschwitz, she didn’t understand what was being said to her. And  woman, prisoner overseer, beat her about the face. There is still visible cut on her lips on these photos. Then she dried her tears and blood from her lips and then these photos were taken.

Czeslawa died in the morning on 12th March 1943. Circumstances of her death were not recorded, She was 14 years old.

Zhukov's Year in Review! 2014 Edition!

Another year passed, and time for a bit of retrospection.

Some of the Year’s Top Posts Included:

American Nurses Train in Judo

Air-raid Warden Mary Couchman

The Christmas Truce

Czeslawa Kwoka, age 14

With so many great photos to choose from, picking anything close to a favorite is quite hard, but here is a small selection of ones I especially liked:

Marine “Devil Dof” Caesar von Steuben

A soldier bids goodbye

The Weather War

Togo the kitty!

There were quite a lot of topics covered as well! 46 of them in total
I won’t list all of the, but some of the highlights include:

Samurai; Armored TrainsSix Day War;

Crimean War; April Fools!; Crete;

The Ten Tragic Days; Spanish Civil WarHeavy Artillery

Aleutian IslandsThe IRABreech-Loading Rifles

Automatic WeaponsArmorWar Dogs 

So Happy New Years to everyone!