Czesława Kwoka, died in Auschwitz


A reflective Post this evening, makes a welcome change and good or bad I can guarantee my blog will never be one theme, I’ve enjoyed writing this 🙂 .

I look at Czesława Kwoka’s Auschwitz registration photograph time and time again, her haunting expression isn’t unique, the many other prisoner photos being colourised so magnificently are equally as haunting and devoid of ALL human emotion.

I look at her, and I wish I could do this post justice, convey how I’ve been feeling whilst reading her true horror story. However I fear I don’t have the breadth of descriptive language and yes I think I lack an ability to convey the upsetting emotions I’m feeling…………. I’ll write you humorous posts all day long of tales sleeping with women BUT serious issues I struggle with and that makes me very angry. And for once I break copyrighted photographs legally, Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum don’t mind, I’d guess the reason is because we should never forget man will imprison the innocent, is capable of murder and when you have the sick enigma of concentration camp deniers, you have to allow the photos to be used for good kind and appropriate reasons, then hopefully we never forget. 

Several years ago I saw a British TV documentary challenging Holocaust deniers, the truly scary part was these deluded people with an agenda appeared to be like you and I? Like I said scary and truly frightening not knowing one could be a work colleague.

You may be thinking Andrew why are you beating yourself up over this, not many people read you and if you don’t enjoy writing this post don’t! I’d answer lol I know, secondly this Blog is for me to read and yes I’ll enjoy the creative process of at least trying to.

I guess an answer would be, several days ago journalists released photos of children separated from their parents caged behind steel fencing AND under bright spotlights 24hrs a day 😮 ! Yes Trump says he’ll backtrack on this problem he created but it’s so so easy for lessons from the past to be forgotten, Czesława died behind Auschwitz fencing 1943 by phenol lethal injection into her heart, she was age 17, her mother had been murdered one month earlier.

🙂 I’m not comparing Trump to Nazism, steel wire fencing seemed to fit that’s all.

The first time I came across ‘Faces of Auschwitz’ was recently in my Reader, are they personalised posts or does everyone. Briefly for I’m not going to repeat, this project is a collaboration between the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum, an amazing digital colourist Marina Amaral all with the one aim of preserving 38,000 photos from over 1,000,000 innocent prisoners who died. A team of academics, journalists and volunteers created ‘Faces of Auschwitz’ to honour the lives of Auschwitz-Birkenau prisoners, and colourising their registration photos truly brings their individual stories to life.

My parents many years ago visited Auschwitz whilst holidaying in Eastern Europe and my father at the time being a secondary school history teacher, you can imagine this horrific example of the awful depravity human beings are capable of affected him, to torture and murder another human being with a total absence of conscience is hard to accept. That there appeared to be no collective conscience to me is worrying for all our futures………………. mankind is truly a dangerous and complex living breathing animal how did we reach a point in time where murdering a child was accepted.


Czesława 26947 looking tired malnourished and resigned to her lot, yet her eyes are alive and revealing, a very different stare in each photo! If she’d lived in London 2018 she’d be a student or a happy face waitressing in a restaurant, serving in a bar or whatever…………….. The life we live is purely an accident of birth and nothing to do with Gods.

Why have I chosen Czesława registration photograph above all others? On reflection I’ve chosen her above many others because of her eyes in the centre face on picture, she’s not looking at the camera though at first glance I thought so simply because all others are!

Those eyes tell me Czesława is looking at SOMEONE and she’s wary anxious, that person’s in authority and to be listened to! I’d guess that someone is in charge of this sick registration, a catalogue of 1,000,000 faces soon to die. She has the gaze not of a victim (and time and time again I keep looking at her photo my brain stumbling around for words to describe how I feel) Czesława’s eyes neither hide fear distress or foreboding which on reflection most other prisoners don’t either so I guess they’re resigned to life inside a death camp, the young lady understands yet she cannot comprehend why these people think they are human.

My guess only, my best attempt at describing this wonderful photo, but her eyes speak more than I can put down in text and skilful colourising has transformed an already haunting photo…………….. don’t you agree?

I’ll never be able to answer who she’s looking at, and I’d guess not the photographer! This is pre digital, the camera’s mechanical, the photographer is finger on trigger looking through the lens, no I have the overpowering feeling this young lady is highly intelligent, understands exactly what an SS Officer is instructing her to do, she’s looking at authority following order’s with an anxious concentration. Hmm I’ve tried my best, Czesława’s haunting eyes are directly looking at someone yet devoid of revealing all but a knowing concentration that’s how I emotionally react to this picture, a stunning image for many reasons not least Marina Amaral is a truly gifted digital colourist, apparently crowned ‘the master of photo colourisation’ by WIRED Magazine and she’s truly done the prisoners justice. 

She also has a book out.

I’ll finish this post telling you what little is known of Czesława . She was born in Wólka Złojecka Poland, on August 15, 1928 and born a Roman Catholic obviously her mother Katarzyna’s faith, I’d forgotten Jews weren’t the only people to be murdered in Auschwitz. Czesława and her mother were arrested as political prisoners in the town of Zamość, located in Nazi-occupied Poland on December 13, 1942. It was then during processing by KL Auschwitz’s Nazi SS administrators, Czesława and Katarzyna were assigned prisoner numbers 26947 and 26946, respectively. I guess we count ourselves lucky 38,000 remain because all the rest were burnt by the fleeing guards.

Both died behind a fence in Auschwitz!

‘Faked news’, I’ll say nothing of President Trump because my own Country’s politicians equally excel at feeding the public lies, jeeze they’ve ALL got their f#cking Twitter feeds! But ‘faked news’ is far from amusing I have little people for relatives, I asked one to give me her views of what fake news meant because believe it or not at school she’s actually taught in class the tricks to spotting fake news! Don’t you think that’s so terribly sad? The internet was supposed to be this great exchange of ideas for the betterment of mankind instead it’s a conduit for supplying pornography, laundering money and turning true stories into lies then regurgitating and altering into fake news for political agenda! So very sad if the true story of Birkenau Auschwitz, man’s ability to murder is changed and edited in such a way that future children believe it never happened.

©A. Shepherdson 2018, and note ALL my own work.

18 thoughts on “Czesława Kwoka, died in Auschwitz

    • 🙂 Thank you SO much Holly for your kind words, Czesława’s story touched me also and I’m really pleased how it turned out, confidence is a fragile quality and I had been toying with taking a break which is fine. Thank you again your comment means a great deal. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. A brilliant post that has me wiping away tears. Czesława was an incredibly beautiful child. What struck me first was the filthy uniform she wore, the sores upon her angel- like face, and the way they butchered her hair as if to take away her gender. Images like this is what I thought of when I heard about Trump ordering children to be removed from their parents and contained in cages in the US. And you certainly can compare Trump to Hitler since DT has stolen Adolf’s playbook and uses all the tricks of the trade to manipulate the masses and take away their humanity. Each man is/was evil.

    It is hard to imagine that human beings could look at a child like Czesława and not take her home with them to watch over her and keep her safe. I will never understand this kind of brutality. My father had cousins the same age that were killed in concentration camps.We have no pictures like these only names on a wall. But it is horrific to even fathom what they went through.

    Andrew, In Judaism we believe that the souls of those who have passed on are remembered when we talk about them, write about them, say their names etc. You honored this child by writing about her. The Talmud also says that souls continue to evolve and learn even in the hereafter. And each generation honors their dead by remembering them. You did a good deed when you wrote this. A “mitzvah”. Little Czesława lives on because you help keep her memory alive. There is something people of my faith say when someone dies. And I will say it about Czesława. “May her memory be a blessing.” Bravo on this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Before I begin I thank you so much for your kind words, I hoped you’d enjoy possibly my favourite post, looking back now over my past nine months writing Czeslawa a girl who died in Auschwitz is possibly (definitely) my very favourite, many reasons not least because the brilliant colourising breathed new life into an already haunting picture, not forgetting Czeslawa and her mother were both murdered behind that fence, to think she died one month after her mother, I think I forgot to mention that fact, and the article did say how they died but I’m glad I forgot that one. Her story deeply affected me also and I will forever be drawn to her eyes the true inspiration for this piece of writing, I am as convinced as I was way back in July, Czeslawa is looking at her murderer in chief, I’ve seen that all knowing worried thinking stare many times before……… and of course the lovely feedback I’ve received was nice.

      Returning to the theme of multicultural Great Britain, there are so many East European young women working in Oxford today, Delis, coffee bars, students, in another age this young lady could be studying in Oxford but there’s little point dwelling on ifs buts and maybes, no doubt her spirit lives on in a better place now if you believe in heaven.
      I won’t ever understand this brutality, losing cousins in such a terrible way must have been heartbreaking for your father.

      Lastly my apologies for not replying earlier Lesley and I’d like to take the time to wish you and your family a very Happy Christmas 🙂 .

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy Christmas to you too. Your response is heartfelt and moving in reflecting the horrors of what happened in Auschwitz. A lesson in humanity that we can never forget lest we are doomed to repeat it. Let us join together for a better new year and hope things will improve and rationality comes to the forefront rather than the political insanity we are seeing now.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so glad you have been as moved by the colourising of these images as I am. Marina Amaral’s work about Auschwitz victims was my introduction to her. It’s such an important thing she did. I remember visiting the museum, over 10 years ago now, and being so distressed by how all the hair had become a similar colour and the cases of shoes and glasses made everyone indistinguishable. You can’t replace what is lost, but recognising it on the individual level matters so much. I hope more people will draw parallels with the current climate and want to resist it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Many politicians say that nazis (“n” not “N” – it is not a nation), were focused to kill all Jewish, Roms, homosexuals… No one told that for being only Polish, you would be senteced to death. No one. Auschwitz was built for Polish. No matter Jewish o not Jewish. Germans killed in Poland 3 mln. Polish Jewish and 3.5 Polish not Jewish. Rest was only a matter of time. And Russians killed next 3-6 mln. Polish citizens. The country left with not educated people. And could survive. Warsaw now is the most beautiful capitol city in Europe. Against intention of Germans from WWII.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on Blogging Thoughts Photos & Life and commented:

    I’d suggest the very favourite posting written on your Blog changes by the day/week (or perhaps you ‘publish’ and hardly ever give them a second thought). I’ve recently discovered the Widget ‘Popular Posts’ and added to my homepage (it’s only taken me 2 years to find and I love it?) Lovely WordPress appears to update by the hour and it’s a snapshot of who’s reading your Blog…. hmm very interesting. My own appears to be 70% vanilla sexy related , that’s fabulous and fine (anyone who reads my Posts thank you) but I’d hope to think I’m more than just frivolity…… 🙂 not to worry we’re all having fun here. I’m going to re-blog my very favourite posting the heart-breaking true story of Czeslawa Kwoka who died age 14 in Auschwitz concentration camp, and only weeks after her mother was murdered. My favourite of 289 and I’m not ashamed to say made me cry the evening I wrote it…….. a timely reminder of the hateful time we live in.


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