A spokesman at the Auschwitz-Birkenau state museum confirmed that Antoni Dobrowolski, the oldest known survivor of Auschwitz, died in Poland earlier this week at age 108. When the Nazi regime limited elementary education for Polish children to just four years of schooling, Dobrowolski participated in underground education efforts. In June 1942, he was arrested by the Nazis and sent to Auschwitz, where more than one million people were ultimately murdered by the Nazis. In a documentary recorded five years ago, Dobrowolski said, “Auschwitz was worse than Dante’s hell.” He was later moved to concentration camps Gross-Rosen and Sachsenhausen until being freed in 1945.
In the video below, Dobrowolski, who was not Jewish, talks about his resistance work. Though the interview is conducted in Polish, a commenter on NPR’s story of his death translates it for readers. “At any moment I was at risk of being killed,” he says, “for this or for that.”
Following the war, Dobrowolski worked as a teacher and an elementary school principal in Debno, Poland, where he lived until his death; his funeral will take place there today. May his memory be for a blessing.