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Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 1Poles and Jews: Renewing the Dialogue$
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Antony Polonsky

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9781904113171

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781904113171.001.0001

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The Underground Movement in Auschwitz Concentration Camp1

The Underground Movement in Auschwitz Concentration Camp1

(p.212) The Underground Movement in Auschwitz Concentration Camp1
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 1

Józef Garliński

Liverpool University Press

This chapter investigates the underground movement in Auschwitz concentration camp. On September 21, 1940, a second transport from Warsaw arrived at Auschwitz. In this transport was a Polish officer, Witold Pilecki. With the consent of his superiors from the underground army, he had volunteered for Auschwitz, letting himself be taken in a Warsaw round-up. In October, Pilecki approached the first, very carefully chosen, prisoners. His idea was to establish an initial group of five men, who were not to know each other but were only united through the leader. After some weeks, there were several of these ‘fives’, connected only through Pilecki; all had sworn the oath of the Polish Home Army. This network was called by its organizer the Union of Military Organization. It was based on two main pillars: the first was the hospital, which afforded shelter and opportunities to help others, the second the Labour Assignment Office. Prisoners who worked there had the chance to transfer their colleagues from a bad working party (Kommando) to a good one, such as electricians, carpenters, cooks, and others.

Keywords:   Auschwitz concentration camp, Witold Pilecki, underground army, Jewish prisoners, Polish Home Army, Union of Military Organization, underground movement

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