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Walter Kolodziejek – Prisoner number 2254

Hitler’s SS Guards changed the name of Walter Kolodziejek (below) after he was arrested and sent to Auschwitz in the summer of 1940, just a few weeks after the Germans opened it. He was only 18 then. The day he arrived he came to be known as Auschwitz prisoner #2254 and has worn that number on his chest ever since.

Auschwitz Survivor - Walter Kolodziejek

He is shown here displaying the number at the Christmas “Oplatek” conducted by the Downstate New York Division of the Polish American Congress at Greenpoint’s Polonaise Terrace. He surprised everyone there because they thought all Auschwitz prisoners had their number imprinted on the forearm.

It was only the first Polish prisoners like Mr. Kolodziejek who had their number put on their chest. Almost all of these early Polish prisoners who survived the camp have already died and Mr. Kolodziejek is believed to be the only one still living with this kind of tattoo.

With January 28, 2013 as the date of his 91st birthday, the Polish American Congress and its guests celebrated this momentous day with a chorus of Happy Birthday and Sto Lat.

The first medical experiments German doctors conducted on Auschwitz prisoners were performed on these Polish inmates.  Mr. Kolodziejek was one of them.  His inner strength allowed him to endure these experiments and survive them.  In amazement, the Nazi doctors nicknamed him, “Hard as a Rock.”

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January 11, 2013 - Posted by | Auschwitz | , ,

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