August Kowalczyk, he last surviving member of a group of prisoners that escaped from the German Nazi concentration camp Birkenau, died Sunday at a hospice he helped found in the town of Oświęcim in southern Poland where the former camp is located. He was 90 years old.

Kowalczyk was brought to Auschwitz in December 1940. In June 1942 he was among 50 Polish inmates who tried to flee the camp while working in the fields. Most were killed in the attempt and only nine escaped. Kowalczyk was the last known survivor.

Kowalczyk became a popular actor and spent his lifetime telling his story to younger generations.

August Talking with Auschwitz Bearing Witness Retreat Participants

August, Bernie, Poland President at Ground Breaking for Hospice in Oświęcim

August attended the Zen Peacemakers 2nd Auschwitz/Birkenau Bearing Witness Retreat (15 years ago)  and at the end of the retreat, he joined the Zen Peacemakers. He attended almost all of the annual retreats since then talking to many retreat participants about his experiences in the camp. He was the head of the Polish Auschwitz Survivers Group for many years and at one point spoke to Bernie Glassman and Andzej Krajewski about developing a tribute for the survivers. They decided on a hospice to be built in Oświęcim. This is where he died.

Facebook Twitter Email

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *