Data

18.01.2024

V March of Remembrance - in tribute to Auschwitz-Birkenau prisoners

For the fifth time, we walked the exact same route as the prisoners of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

On the night of January 16-17, 2024, students and employees of the WSB University in Cieszyn set out on the 5th March of Remembrance 2024 to honor the victims of the death marches in 1945 and those murdered in the former Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. They covered more than 60 km on the route Oświęcim - Brzeszcze - Pszczyna - Pawłowice - Jastrzębie Zdrój - Wodzisław Śląski (railway station). For the fifth time, they walked the exact same route as the prisoners of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, who were evacuated in 1945: from Oświęcim to Wodzisław Śląski.

At 1:00 a.m., the victims were honored by laying flowers and lighting symbolic candles in front of the Wall of Death on the grounds of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, accompanied by representatives of the International Center for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust.

The first stop on the route of the March of Remembrance was the laying of flowers at the Birkenau Cemetery in Brzeszcze, where the first mass grave of those who died of exhaustion or from SS bullets during the evacuation of the camp by the Germans is located. At this stage of the route, Mr. Andrzej Kacorzyk - Director of the International Center for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust - presented to the participants of the event the course of historical events related to the death marches.

After several hours of marching, flowers were laid and a symbolic candle was lit in front of the memorial plaque to the victims of the Death March at the Pszczyna Municipal Stadium. The next stop on the route of the marchers was a visit to the Pszczyna District Fire Brigade, where the marchers, together with the District Fire Chief Brig. Gen. Grzegorz Koloczek and Deputy Chief Brig. Radoslaw Radkowski, recalled the tragic historical events and discussed the current situation of public safety.

When the participants reached the border of the city of Wodzislaw Slaski, they were warmly welcomed by its inhabitants, who joined the march and walked with them the last few kilometers of the route. The last stage and the last stop of the March of Remembrance was the laying of flowers and lighting of candles in front of the memorial plaque at the Wodzislaw Slaski railway station, accompanied by the city authorities. It was at this train station that the prisoners were herded into the freight cars and transported to the Third Reich.

The students showed great perseverance - during the whole march they were accompanied by ten-degree frost, wind and rain, which made the march difficult.

 

Patronage

The event was held under the honorary patronage of the President of Poland, Andrzej Duda.

 

- After 17 hours of grueling walking, we managed to safely complete the route planned for the fifth time between Oświęcim and Wodzisław Śląski. WSB University took very good care of the safety of the event. Among other things, all participants were equipped with specially prepared jackets to protect them from adverse weather conditions, warm hats and reflective elements. From a logistical and medical point of view, we had complete professional security. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Rector of the University, Assoc. Prof. Zdzisława Dacko-Pikiewicz, for her trust and support, which made it possible to organize the fifth edition of the event. The thought that there are people, especially the youngest participants of the event, for whom historical education and the cultivation of historical memory are so important, fills me with optimism and drives away emotions such as fear. For years I have been saying that it is on our shoulders to remember and spread the truth about these tragic events. We are already beginning to prepare for the 6th March of Remembrance in 2025," says Wiktoria Kolano, the organizer of the WSB University March of Remembrance.

 

Publications in the media

"The thought that there are people, especially the youngest participants in our march of remembrance, for whom historical education and the cultivation of historical memory are so important, fills me with optimism and dispels emotions such as fear. (...) It is on our shoulders to remember and spread the truth about these tragic events". - Wiktoria Kolano of the WSB University told PAP on Wednesday morning.