Czeslawa Kwoka, the 14-year-old”political” prisoner of Auschwitz


Czesława Kwoka (15 August 1928 Wólka Złojecka – 12 March 1943 Auschwitz) was a Polish Catholic child who died in the Auschwitz concentration camp at the age of 14. She was one of the thousands of child victims of German World War II crimes against Poles. She died at Auschwitz-Birkenau in German-occupied Poland, and is among those memorialized in the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum indoor exhibit called ‘Block no. 6: Exhibition: The Life of the Prisoners”


Czeslawa was a Polish Catholic girl, from Wolka Zlojecka, Poland, who was sent to Auschwitz with her mother in December of 1942. She was deemed a political prisoner for living in Zamosc, the location of a future German colony. The cut on her lip in picture two came from being struck by a female Kapo for not speaking German which she did not know. (Speaking Polish was outlawed in 1939.)


Czesɫawa, was only in camp three months before she perished, less than one month after her mother, Katarzyna Kwoka (prisoner number 26946) did, due to unknown circumstances (there is speculation that lethal injection was used). Both of their names can be found on a list of deceased female prisoners who were thought to be associated with the camp resistance.

The rod in the first picture was used to keep the subject still and at right distance from the camera. Those kind of devices were widely used in early days of photography when the photographic plates weren’t so sensitive and long exposures had to be used.

The pictures were taken by Wilhelm Brasse while, a Polish professional photographer and a prisoner in Auschwitz, working in the photography department at the death camp.






  1. Charles De Rimsford says:

    Thank you for memorialising Czeslawa. When first saw her picture, the side view, the sadness in her downturned mouth I was so stricken, if that’s even possible anymore given the thousands of photos of the greatest crime in history. But her pictures are so compelling. I have to keep myself from imagining the awful things she, like others, experienced. How could people do such a thing to someone like her, to any children or women?
    At any rate, while it does no good to know she died in that camp there’s some, I don’t know, comfort (?) in knowing she hasn’t been forgotten entirely. If you have any more information about her I’d like to know. Did her family survive?

    Best wishes and thanks for this wonderful thing you’ve done.

    Robert Norwood


    1. dirkdeklein says:

      I could not find anything on her Father but her Mother died a month before her also in Auschwitz


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