Commemoration for Henryk Slawik at Gusen

 

Exactly on the 70th anniversary of the execution of Henryk Slawik and his comrades in Gusen a delegation of the Silesian Voivodeship from Katowice, visited the memorial sites of Mauthausen and Gusen on Saturday, August 23, 2014. The Sejm of Silesia had decided to declare 2014 in memory of this “Polish Raoul Wallenberg” as “The Year of Henryk Slawik”.

Henryk Slawik and his team supplied, supported and saved about 30.000 people, mainly Poles, who had fled to Hungary after the Nazi invasion of Hungary in 1944. They discharged the endangered people to southern Hungary and the Yugoslav partisans area. The occupants of the “orphanage for children of fallen Polish officers” in Vac, that hid especially Jewish children from Poland, were rescued with official support of the Catholic Church from deportation to Auschwitz. Polish professors established als Polish gymnasium at Lake Balaton that was in operation from 1941 to 1944.

The main task of the members of this “Polish Relief Committee in Hungary” was the provision of social assistance and escapement for Polish Jews and other persecuted Poles in Hungary.

The leading members of the committee were arrested on March 19, 1944, brought to to Gestapo headquarters Vienna, Austria and were finally interrogated, tortured and hanged on August 23, 1944 in a consecutive row in Gusen on order of the Reichsführer SS.

Polish President Komorowski inaugurated a plaque in the Mauthausen Memorial in the previous year to remind of these brave men.

A run-staffette from the hometown of Henryk Slawik, Jastrzębie Zdrój, arrived at 01:00 p.m. at the memorial in Mauthausen and was welcomed His Excellency, the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland in Austria, Mr. Artur Lorkowski, the Governor of Silesia, Lord Marshal Mirosław Sekuła, and the Chairman of the Parliament of Silesia, Mr Andrzej Gosciniak.

In a ceremony those present commemorated the events 70 years ago and the exemplary courage of those members of that Polish Relief Committee in Hungary.

Subsequently, wreaths were laid down at the memorial plaque in Mauthausen, on the parade ground, and then in the courtyard of the Gusen Memorial.

The ceremony was also attended by family members of those killed. Mr. Andrzej Gurgul, son of Professor Kazimierz Gurgul and his wife Maria from Krakow, and Professor Piotr Kunce from Krakow, grandson of Professor Stefan Filipkiewicz. Ms. Maria Gurgul remembered in personal words to the work of her father and his associates.

A short film and a photo report can be found at the following website: http://www.slaskie.pl/strona_n.php?jezyk=pl&grupa=10&art=7156&id_menu#

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RAHD

Founding member and member of board, Gusen Memorial Committee (GMC).

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