Oral History

John Komski describes Krakow after the outbreak of World War II

John, who was born to a non-Jewish Polish family, graduated from an art academy. Following the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, John was in Krakow. Food became scarce in Krakow, with long lines of people waiting for whatever food was available. John decided to join the resistance against the Germans. By early 1940, he and two of his friends felt that they were in danger and decided to try to escape to France. John was caught and arrested during this escape attempt. He survived imprisonment in the Auschwitz camp, where he was classified as a political prisoner and his uniform was marked with a red triangle.



  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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