Lucyna survived Auschwitz: “Show the world that this person is still alive”
An elderly woman is sitting at a table. She shows a prisoner number tattooed on her arm. This is Lucyna Wojno. She survived three concentration camps. Today she is almost 104 years old.
Lucyna Wojno rolls up the sleeve of her red patterned sweater to reveal the number 44357, which was tattooed on her arm in Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp. She was 25 years old at the time. She can still remember a poem from back then, and she recites a few lines from it in a quavering voice. “At sunrise there is movement outside the gates, the authorities come out and piss on the dogs (…) The daily farce begins. How beautifully the smoke pours from the chimney…”
Lucyna is cheerful, modest, and extremely sociable, and today she is meeting Anna Meier-Osiński from the Arolsen Archives, who is going to give her copies of all the documents stored in the archive that contain information about her time in the camps. Lucyna’s son Jerzy is present too, and one thing is especially important to him: “Show the world that this person is still alive.”
»Considering the living conditions we had to endure back then, I should have popped off a long time ago. But I’m alive and well.«Lucyna Wojno, Auschwitz survivor
Escape from Soviet captivity
Lucyna Wojno was born on April 6, 1918, in Wojny-Wawrzyńce (Podlaskie Voivodeship), the daughter of Aleksander and Stefania. She was orphaned when she was two years old. Her aunt looked after her when she was small and took responsibility for her upbringing. “My mother’s sister took care of me, but you know how it is when you don’t have parents of your own. But somehow we survived… It was a hard life, and I grew up without love. But that’s all a long time ago now. Life has made a happy person out of me – I have my own apartment, I have a son who takes care of me,” she says.
Lucyna was in Warsaw when the war began, and she managed to escape from Soviet captivity after being captured in September 1939. From 1941 on, she had to work as a civilian forced laborer at Fuhrmann & Co in Munich. This is substantiated by documents from the Arolsen Archives. Her supervisor reported her to the Gestapo as a political suspect, allegedly for engaging in illegal trade.
A political prisoner in Auschwitz
She was detained for a week before being sent to Auschwitz concentration camp by the Munich State Police in May 1943. She was given prisoner number 44357, classified as a political prisoner, and assigned to labor detail 19. The duties this labor detail was charged with included digging trenches for camp buildings.
At the end of July 1944, Lucyna Wojno was transferred to Ravensbrück concentration camp, where she was again classified as a political prisoner. She had to perform forced labor in the Altenburg sub-camp (which was under the command of Ravensbrück concentration camp before it was assigned to Buchenwald concentration camp). Documents stored in the Arolsen Archives show that she was imprisoned in Buchenwald concentration camp (prisoner number 27150) as early as September 1944 and that she had to work for HASAG-Altenburg during her time there.
Her fate is documented in the Arolsen Archives
Lucyna Wojno first approached the Arolsen Archives in 1975 and asked them to provide confirmation of her incarceration in the concentration camps. Staff searched the archive and found numerous documents in our collection that can be used to reconstruct her fate quite accurately – they include a card with details of her labor assignment in Buchenwald concentration camp, her prisoner registration card from Buchenwald, and a personal effects card.
Lucyna’s name can also be found in the numbered card file for female prisoners of Buchenwald concentration camp, in the list of transports to Buchenwald concentration camp, in the list of prisoners who arrived at the Altenburg sub-camp of Buchenwald concentration camp, and in the money lists of prisoners held in Auschwitz and Ravensbrück concentration camps. Jerzy Wojno recently asked us to check the archive again. Copies of all the documents held in the Arolsen Archives have found their way into the family archive. Lucyna and Jerzy were both surprised by the amount of information that was found.
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