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August Kowalczyk (No 6804) dies

August Kowalczyk died yesterday in Oswiecim. He was one of most famous Polish actors and former Auschwitz prisoner (No 6804). In recent years he was facing already small gruop of former Auschwitz prisoners. He conducted a dialogue about Holocaust with young people from around the world. The world is much more empty without him...

August Kowalczyk was born on August 15, 1921 in Tarnawa Gora. After a high school he planned tostydy at the seminary, but the war interrrupted these plans. Kowalczyk decided to join the Polish army in France, but was arrested while passing through the Slovakia territory and on December 4, 1940 he was taken to Auschwitz concentration camp. He nad a number 6804 and worked over construction of IG Farben Buna Werke Auschwitz industrial plant. On May 28, 1942 he was moved for contacts with civilians of Oswiecim to lifetime penal company.
Along with other prisoners on June 10, 1942 he escaped after the finishing of the construction of a drainage ditch. He fled into woods, the hid in the corn. He was founded there by local Polish women, who provided him with feminine disguise and revealed the place of save refuge. He was hidden for 7 weeks on the attic of a house in the Bojszowy village. Later, he travelled with false documents to Silesia, then came to Krakow. To the end of the war he fought with Germans in the ranks of AK (Polish Underground Army).
After a war he became an actor. He starrred in dozens of Polish films and numerous theatre dramas.
In 1996 he published his own memories from the Auschwitz concentration camp tiltled: "Refren kolczastego drutu: Trylogia prawdziwa (A Barbed Wire Refrain)"
He participated in the preparation of the celebration of 55th and 60th anniversaries of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau and 55th anniversary of the rebellion of the penal company Auschwitz. He died after a severe illness in Oswiecim July 29, 2012, at ward of City Memorial Hospice of Oswiecim.

The photographs below came from the collections of: Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, filmpolski.pl, Gazeta Wyborcza archive.