‘My father wrote Auschwitz bottle message’

30th April 2009, Comments 0 comments

Workers found the bottle packed inside the mortar of a wall of a building in the southern Polish town of Oswiecim that served as a warehouse for the camp's Nazi guards during World War II, now part of a local high school.

Stockholm -- The daughter of one of seven men whose names were in a bottled message found on the grounds of Auschwitz this week said Wednesday that her late father, who fled to Sweden after the war, had written the note.

"I recognised the handwriting. It must be my father's handwriting," Irene Jankowiak told AFP by telephone from her home in Uppsala, north of Stockholm.

"We have compared it to other things he has written, we have old letters and things that he wrote in 1945 in a diary so I'm 100 percent sure actually," she said.

Her father's name, Bronislaw Jankowiak, appears in a message dated September 20, 1944, listing the names and camp ID numbers of seven Auschwitz prisoners aged 18 to 20, all Polish nationals except for one, who worked together on the construction of an air shelter.

Workers found the bottle packed inside the mortar of a wall of a building in the southern Polish town of Oswiecim that served as a warehouse for the camp's Nazi guards during World War II, now part of a local high school.

Born in 1926 in Poznan, Bronislaw Jankowiak, a Catholic Pole who was sent to the camp in 1943, fled to Sweden in 1945 where he worked in a factory for typewriters and calculators in Aatvidaberg, in southern Sweden, where he died in 1997.

Told about the discovery of the bottled message by relatives in Poland, Irene Jankowiak, 49, said she was stunned when she found out her father's name was on the list.

She said he had spoken very little about his time in the camp.

"The clock stops at that moment and history came back to me and my family. (We) started wondering who he was and why he didn't tell us about it," she said.

Auschwitz museum officials have said they know that two of the Auschwitz prisoners who signed the message survived the camp, but did not know of their fate.

The only non-Pole on the list was French citizen Albert Veissid, 84, who lives in the southern French town of Marseille and who said the discovery was a "mystery" to him.

AFP/Expatica

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