Czesława Kwoka

Czesława Kwoka was born on August 15, 1928 in Wólka Złojecka, a small village in the Polish Zamość region that fell victim to Hitler’s Lebensraum (living space) – the ideological policy of territorial expansion into Eastern Europe. Czesława and her mother, Katarzyna, were Roman Catholics: a group reviled by the Nazi Party. The Nazis refused to tolerate any group or social gathering that was not controlled or thoroughly infiltrated by their governance. Catholics, under the sway of the Pope and their local clergy, were suspect: it was not possible, according to Nazi dogma, to give allegiance to both the Church and the Fatherland. Further, Jesus’ Semitic roots were reviled by the Nazis who, through the cracked lens of Social Darwinism, spewed hateful propaganda that declared the Jewish people to be the root of all of Germany’s social and economic problems. In Nazi Germany and occupied Europe, many Catholic clergymen and nuns were persecuted and sent to concentration camps. Similarly, many followers of Catholicism were arrested as political prisoners suspected of serving the interest of the Roman Catholic Church.


© Some Rights Reserved
Digital and photographic reproductions of our photographs and videos are allowed according to applicable rights and restrictions. Individuals that would like to reproduce our material must first obtain written permission. Send us an email to learn more.


The Catholic Saints of Auschwitz

Prominent Catholic leaders were persecuted and murdered in Auschwitz. Two of the best-known names are those of St. Maximilian Kolbe and St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. 

Maximilian Kolbe

.... was a Polish Franciscan priest who died as prisoner 16770. When one prisoner tried to escape, the SS guards demanded that ten men be punished for his crime. St. Maximilian volunteered to take the place of one of these ten men. After being starved for two weeks and still found alive, he was killed by lethal injection on August 14, 1941.

Edith Stein

... was a Jewish philosopher who converted to the Catholic Church and became a Carmelite nun. She was taken from the convent and transported to the camp, along with her sister, on a cattle train. Once she arrived she was deemed unfit for work and was sent to the gas chamber. Edith was murdered on August 9, 1942, soon after her arrival.

Etty Hillesum, a young Dutch girl of Jewish origin, kept a meticulous diary for the last two years of her life, documenting the persecutions of Jewish people in Amsterdam and her own religious awekening. Etty took on administrative duties for the Jewish Council in July 1942, when round-ups of Jews intensified. She volunteered to work on a department of Westerbork known as “Social Welfare for People in Transit”. On 5 July 1943, her status was revoked and she bacame a camp internee along with her family. On 7 September 1943 they were deported from Westerbork to Auschwitz. From a window of the train she tossed out a card that read, “We have left the camp singing.”

Toward the end of her journal, she wrote:

Etty Hillesum

According to camp's records, Etty's parents died on 10 September 1943. It is not known if they were gassed immediately upon arrival or if they died in transit. Her youngest brother, Mischa Hillesum, remained in Auschwitz until October 1943, when he was moved to the Warsaw Ghetto and, according to the Red Cross, died before 31 March 1944. Etty died in Auschwitz on 30 November 1943. She was 29.

During processing by KL Auschwitz’s Nazi SS administrators, Czesława and Katarzyna were assigned prisoner numbers 26947 and 26946, respectively. According to camp records, Katarzyna, died on February 18, 1943. One month later, Czesława was murdered with a phenol injection to the heart at the age of 14.


Author: Séamus Bellamy
Editor: Maria Zalewska
Sponsored by: Michael Frank Family Charitable Fund

Related Stories

13 thoughts on “Czesława Kwoka

  1. Eternal memory!
    May each and every person be honoured and remembered with love, dignity and respect, in hearts and minds.
    Never again!
    Thank you for your work
    Every good wish

  2. I am tortured every single day whenever I see such pictures and read of such horrible hate even to teenagers and young children. I cursed Hitler and his henchmen and only wish I could kill them myself if I had the chance. Never Again, Unthinkable!

    If there was an Israel before 1930, Hitler would never have had a pathetic excuse to rise to power!

  3. I saw her picture on another site. One of the remarks beneath it was:
    “But she wasn’t Jewish! What was she doing there?”

    My God, we have failed them then. If the generations coming up think that only the Jews were in any danger from the nazis then we have failed all of the victims of that era, lulling the young folk into a deadly thought of, “well, I would have been safe then!”
    No, you would not have been!

    Thank you for this site. More needs to be done to keep these people from having died in vain.

    1. So many people think it was just the Jewish people because it was the highest and mostly spoken about. There were so many others, I myself as a catholic would have been a target, Jehovah witnesses, if you were gay. Gypsy’s, disabled, people of colour. Each and every life that was taken was a crime and all should be remembered in the hope it never happens again.

    2. absolutely. My mothers family lived in Hamburg. On account of the bombing the glass of the windows had to be renewed regularly. A french POW was sent many times to do the work. His meal he had with him were potatos (only cooked) and my grandma offered him to fry them for him, adding butter and invited him to sit in her kitchen to eat on a table. She did this a few times when a neighbour warned her that she could be arrested and never coming back for doing this. He had to eat in the hallway afterwards, but she kept frying the potatos for him. Just being friendly, a normal action between huming beeings, could have meant deportation.

  4. So many people think it was just the Jewish people because it was the highest and mostly spoken about. There were so many others, I myself as a catholic would have been a target, Jehovah witnesses, if you were gay. Gypsy’s, disabled, people of colour. Each and every life that was taken was a crime and all should be remembered in the hope it never happens again.

  5. Brian Anderson shared a post.

    2 hrs ·

    The photo of this young girl jarred me. I don’t know what it is about adding color but it does make it more real. It also makes me think of my father. I just found out that he was in the 97th Infantry division that liberated Flossenberg concentration camp. I don’t know if he was there because he wouldn’t talk much about his active service, but he was deeply haunted by his war experience. He knew who and what he fought for and had a lifelong hatred of fascism

    1. Thank you for posting this. I have been trying to figure out what cezlawa and her moms lives were in that small village. I wish someone somewhere would mention any info WHY just she and her mom ended up in A. Maybe her father and other siblings were killed at the village? Maybe she was an only child with a mom but a rural catholic fam I don’t think so. I have searched so many times but no mention of her possible other fam or if any one who knew her survived.

  6. I am haunted by this photo of Czesława Kwoka. To my dying day, I will never understand how any people could knowingly kill her and all the others who perished under the Nazis.

  7. So very sad. When I first saw these images in my local paper it literally bought me to tears. How can anyone be so incredibly evil to a beautiful, innocent young girl. At least her name will be remembered unlike all the disgusting nazi guards in the camp. RIP Kwoka.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *