He was the first prisoner of Auschwitz, he survived the Nazi terror and when he was released his mother didn’t even recognize him
“I don’t know how I survived it all,” he said. Stanislav ReniakPolish, 80 years old, left hell alive after half a century.
The “everything” that Reiniak mentioned in 1995 can be replaced with another word, a sinister name: AuschwitzThe most tragically famous concentration and extermination camps that the Nazis set up in Poland.
If horrors can be calculated in figures, then Auschwitz is in the lead. during its nearly five years of existence 1,300,000 people passed through, of whom 1,100,000 were murdered In different ways: in gas chambers, by starvation, by extreme punishment, by bullets or by horrific medical experiments.
According to the Holocaust Encyclopedia, 960,000 Jews, 74,000 Poles, 21,000 Gypsies, 15,000 Soviet POWs, and 10,000 to 15,000 prisoners of other nationalities died.
When Stanisław Ryniak was transferred to Auschwitz on June 14, 1940, the concentration camp had been inaugurated less than a month earlier, on May 20, and its commander was SS Rudolf Hausunder the direct orders of Heinrich Himmler,
Although he did not arrive alone, but with 727 other Poles, by numerical coincidence, Reiniak became the first political prisoner of AuschwitzHe has a tattoo of the number 31 on his arm.
It was “31” and not “1”, as it would have been, because 30 other German prisoners were waiting for him in the concentration camp Those who were from May and had also got tattoos done.
They were criminals who were brought there not to serve their sentences but to fulfill the task of tyrannical “kapos”, the first in line of abuse and subordination to the actual recipients of the camp, who were to be eliminated.
Why he was in the first place, he himself never knew. “They read me first: Rinac Stanislav. A chill passed, a little anxiety, but they numbered 31. Polo, politician, number 31. Then 32, 33, 34… I’ve often wondered how it happened that I got number 31, First issue of Polish Political Prisoner. Maybe my name was on the transport list before, or maybe it was just a coincidence,” he recalled after the war.
If he was able to tell it, it was because he, in addition to being the first political prisoner at Auschwitz, one of the few who survived to the factory of death
Located in Oswiecim, 43 kilometers from Krakow, Auschwitz was much more than just a concentration camp. It was erected as a complex made up of 3 main camps: Auschwitz I, the original camp -; Auschwitz II-Birkenau, a concentration and extermination camp; and Auschwitz III-Monowitz, a labor camp for the German company IG Farben. It also had another 45 satellite regions.
At the entrance to Auschwitz I hung a sign with the motto Arbeit macht Frei (“Work makes free”)With which the SS forces obtained the deportation.
The place was strategically chosen. The city of Oswiecim was formerly located in a pro-Nazi railway enclave, where the southern railway lines to Prague and Vienna intersected with the industrial areas of Berlin, Warsaw and northern Silesia.
SS planners and the Reich Security Main Office in Berlin found all the requirements for mass transport. At the head of this plan was the architect of the so-called “Final Solution”, Adolf Eichmann.
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It was the seventh concentration camp built by the NazisAfter Dachau (the first concentration camp built in 1933), Sachsenhausen, Buchenwald, Flossenbürg, Mauthausen and Ravensbrück women’s camps.
Like most Nazi concentration camps, Auschwitz was designed to serve three functions:
– Imprisonment for an indefinite period for real or suspected enemies of the Nazi regime and officials of the German occupation in Poland.
– the supply of forced labor for the SS companies concerned with construction and later for the production of weapons and other war elements).
– act as a site for kill the enemies of the ReichWhose death was necessary for the safety of Nazi Germany.
Initially, the Auschwitz complex contained a gas chamber and a crematorium. The gassing operation was later moved to another camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, after two fields outside the camp fence were converted into gas chambers.
But the influx of death row inmates also exceeded the capacity of these two new cells, and Four big cremation grounds were built Inside Auschwitz-Birkenau. Each contained a gas chamber, a stripping area, and cremation ovens.
Gassing ended in bunkers I and II when crematoria II through V began operation, although bunker II was put back into operation in 1944 during the deportation of Hungarian Jews. The army was invincible.
If the gas chambers and cremation grounds were the deadly scenarios of the “Final Solution”, the hospital in Barrack 10 of Auschwitz I was a no less sinister place. Whereas, on the orders of joseph mengelpseudoscientific investigation Using prisoners as human guinea pigs.
Among many other atrocities, the SS doctors focused their tests on twin brothers who had two different colored eyes, and on dwarfs.
In the case of twins, “scientific research” included unnecessary limb amputations, the deliberate inoculation of one twin with typhus and other diseases, and blood transfusions from one brother to the other. Many of the victims died during the proceedings. Once the trial was over, the twins were sometimes killed and their bodies dissected for “comparative study”.
Experiments with eyes included attempts to change the color of the iris through the injection of chemicals and People with heterochromia were killed in order to remove the pupils of the eyes. and send them to Berlin for analysis.
Dwarves and people with physical abnormalities were measured, blood and healthy teeth were taken, and unnecessary drugs and electricity were given until they died.
Those who survived went to the gas chambers.
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All this was witnessed by Polish student Stanisław Reniak, political prisoner number 1 of Auschwitz, who he was 25 when he got there Transferred with his fellow victims.
He was arrested by the Germans on May 5, 1940, along with other students who were suspected of being part of the resistance group Unión de Lucha Armada.
After three days of interrogation under torture, the Germans transported him to Tarnów prison, where some soldiers who tried to escape to Hungary, members of secret independence organizations, students, and many Polish Jews were already detained.
On 14 June, Rieniak and 727 other Polish prisoners were transferred to new facilities at Auschwitz I. Unfortunately one of his companions, eugenius nidojoudlohe recalled it this way for part of the journey: “It was a hot and sunny morning. We walked in four lines, forming a long snake that didn’t know where it was going. The SS were shouting, we were sad, sad. The streets were deserted, but some people could be seen peeping out from behind their windows. Suddenly, An unknown hand threw us a bouquet of red flowers, but an SS man crushed them.”,
Raniak recalls that he was beaten with sticks until he reached the gates of the concentration camp. “They forced us to enter the camp grounds and warned us with shots that we were not in a hospital, where they told us we were going to go,” he recounted later.
They put him to work on building new facilities for the main camp and, later, for its satellites.
“I remember many incidents from the many years I spent there in the concentration camps, even though more than sixty years have passed since liberation. I remember the first time the roll call went on for several hours after it was leaked Tadeusz Wijowskiand later selection for death in the gas chambers, and many executions,” he recounted publicly during one of his talks at the Holocaust Museum.
On October 28, 1944, he was moved to a subcamp at KL Flossenbürg, which was located in Litomerice. he worked there in the mine until He was liberated by the Red Army on May 8, 1945.
My weight was 40 kg at the time of release. Despite being completely exhausted, I decided to return to Poland immediately. When I finally arrived at my childhood home in Sanok, my own mother could not believe I was alive, even though I was standing right in front of her eyes.”
After the war, Stanisław Reniak graduated from the Wrocław Technical University and became an architectural engineer. Until the end of his life he supported the Auschwitz Museum and gave countless talks there to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive.
Died on 13 February 2004 at the age of 88 in Wroclaw and was buried at the local Osobowiecki cemetery.
The Holocaust Museum still resonates with the words he delivered in his last lecture:
“When we are gone, the stones will speak for us.”