On December 13th 1942 Nazi soldiers invaded the county of Zamosc, in Poland, and evicted almost 300 villages. They sent the over 116.000 people who inhabited these lands to camps such as Zwierzyniec, Auschwitz or Majdanek, among others.
This operation involved the set in motion of the “Generalplan Ost”, or the General Plan of the East, whose commitment was to deport and exterminate 50 million of Slavs with the end of creating a “Lebensraum”, or German living space, inhabited by a farming colony of arian civilians.
In one of these transportations was Czesława Kwoka, the scared and battered young girl portrayed on the image below.
Born in August 15th 1928 in the small polish village of Wólka Zlojecka, Czesława grew up in the heart of a Catholic family until she was hauled to Auschwitz and turned into a prisoner of the German Nazi camp.
“She was really young and was so scared. The girl didn’t understand why she was there and couldn’t understand what they were saying. Then a Kapo woman took a stick and hit her face”, would tell years later Wilheim Brasse, the polish prisoner to whom the Nazis assigned the task of taking photos of the approximately 40.000-50.000 newcomers to the concentration camp, inexorably condemned to death.
“Before taking the photo, the young girl dried her eyes and removed the blood from the cut on her lip. Sincerely, I felt it as if they were hitting me, but couldn’t interfere. It would have been the end for me”.
Only a few months after she entered the camp, on March 12th 1943, Czesława Kwoka would die, becoming one of the approximately 230.000 children assassinated in Auschwitz.
As for Brasse, he would ignore the order received from the SS on January 1945 to destroy immediately all photographs taken from prisoners and any related documentation. He had one finality on mind: to conserve and show the world the evidences of the atrocities perpetrated in Auschwitz, and to avoid that, in spite of the efforts made by her assassins, lives such as Czeslawa Wólka’s could be forgotten.