August Kowalczyk, the last remaining survivor from a group of prisoners who escaped the Auschwitz death camp in 1942, passed away on Monday, a spokesman for the Auschwitz Museum announced.
Kowalczyk was sent to Auschwitz in December of 1940. Two years later, in June of 1942, he took part in an attempt by 50 Polish prisoners to escape the death camp. Most of those who attempted to escape were shot by German guards and only nine survived. Kowalczyk was one of the nine.
Kowalczyk, 90 years old at the time of his death, died at a hospice which he helped establish in the town of Oswiecim in southern Poland. In the years following World War II, he became a popular actor in Poland, appearing in 23 films and plays. After retiring from acting he devoted his time to retelling his experiences to the younger generation in Poland.
Three years ago, on the 64th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, Kowalczyk gave a speech in which he attacked countries that deny the Holocaust, including Iran.
“We, the survivors of the camp, are becoming fewer so it is important that our voices be heard as evidence of the horror that occurred here,” he said.