Czesɫawa Kwoka ,this is the name of a girl who was 14 when she was interned in Auschwitz Concentration Camp. She is one of the one million and hundred thousand people who died in that earthly hell created by the German National Socialist party trying to deal with the “Jewish matter”.

Her story would have been forgotten if Wilhelm Brasse (prisoner number 3444)  had not photographed her for the camp archive. Czesɫawa was a catholic girl who came to the camp with her mother in December 1942 from Wolka Zlojecka, Polonia. Since she lived in Zamosc, a future German colony, she was captured as a political prisoner.

In Brasse’s pictures, not so different to the thousand (40-50 thousand) ones he shoot from 1940 to 1945 at the camp, it is possible to observe the series of three pictures that were shoot to many prisoners.

Profile, front and three-quarters position

The cut on Czesɫawa’s lips shows a wound inflicted to her by a female German ’Kapò’, who beat her as she was not answering to her German orders and questions therefore she was not answering back (in Poland Polish language was banned by Nazis and considered illegal since 1939 occupation).

Czesɫawa remained in Auschwitz for three more months before she was murdered, surviving one extra month more than her mother, Katarzyna Kwoka (prisoner number 26946). Both women’s names are on a list of prisoners considered part of the camp’s resistance.

Below: Brasse with one of his photographs

Photograph and fellow prisoner Wilhelm Brasse remembered Czesɫawa’s portrait in a documentary in 2005 about his own experience: “She was so young and terrified. The girl didn’t understand why she was there and what she had been told. Then a woman ‘Kapò’ (named Blokowa) took a stick and hit her in the face.

The woman was letting off steam on the girl, a beautiful girl, so innocent. The girl cried, but she couldn’t do any more that that. Before I snapped the picture, the little girl dried her tears out and the blood out of her lip. To be honest I felt as if I was hit myself, but I couldn’t interfere with it at all. It would have been a deadly act, you couldn’t say anything”.

Czesɫawa Kwoka was born in Wólka Zlojecka on August the 5th 1928 and was killed by the Nazis on March the 12th 1943 at Auschwitz Concentration Camp.

She didn’t turn 15 yet

Czesɫawa and hundreds of thousands of people got been killed by Nazis. The employees supervising the German camps were ordinary people. Below some of them immortalized in a relaxing moment in a Karl Höcker’s photo album

All pictures shown are in the Public Domain

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Matteo Rubboli

I am a publisher specialised in the digital distribution of culture and founder of the portal Vanilla Magazine. I don't wear a tie or branded clothes, I keep my hair short so I don't have to comb it. That's not my fault but just the way I've been drawn as...

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