Antoni Dobrowolski, world’s oldest Auschwitz survivor, dies age 108
Antoni Dobrowolski, the world’s oldest survivor of the German concentration camp, Auschwitz, died in Poland on Sunday. He was 108 years old.
Mr. Dobrowolski, a certified teacher, was arrested and sent to Auschwitz after he continued teaching Polish children against a German decree. When Germany invaded Poland, part of their master plan was to use the Polish as a type of ‘worker colony’. The Germans decided education was not only unnecessary for people who would technically be nothing more than slaves, but that banning education for children above the age of 10 would make the Poles less likely to fight back.
Antoni Dobrowolski, however, continued to offer free education to children in his Polish town as part of an underground movement, the Secret Teaching Organization, which was created to help defeat the German army. He was discovered, captured and sent to Auschwitz and then on to two other concentration camps.
When World War II ended, Dobrowolski returned to Poland and to teaching, eventually becoming a high school principal. His funeral will take place on Wednesday.
According to the Institute of National Remembrance in Poland, more than 5.5 million Poles died as a direct result of World War II, many of them in German concentration camps.