Scrapbookpages Blog

October 26, 2017

Withold Pilecki — the man who volunteered to be a prisoner at Auschwitz

Filed under: Auschwitz, Germany, Holocaust — furtherglory @ 10:04 am

You can read about Withold Pilecki in this recent news article:

The following quote is from the news article:

Begin quote

Witold Pilecki was a Polish cavalry officer and a devout Catholic. He bears the distinction of being the only person who ever voluntarily sought to be captured and sent to the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz.

Before World War II, Pilecki was happily married to schoolteacher Maria Pilecka (née Ostrowska) and the attentive father to their two children, Andrzej and Zofia, who are still alive. Pilecki cared deeply about the welfare of his community: he established an agricultural cooperative, helmed the local fire brigade and also served as chairman of a milk-processing plant. In 1932, he founded a cavalry training school. He had fought in the Polish-Soviet War of 1919–1921 and the 1920 Polish-Lithuanian War.

End quote

My photo of reconstructed standing cell at Auschwitz

I have a section on my website about the standing cells, which you can read at

The 1998 photograph above shows the reconstructed entrance to one of the 4 standing cells (Stehzellen) in prison cell #22 in the basement of Block 11. These 4 cells were 31.5 inches square; there was no light coming in at all, and no heating or cooling system.

Prisoners had to crawl into the cell through a tiny door, as shown in the photo above. Metal bars at the entrance allowed guards to open the door and look inside the cell. There was no room to lie down or sit down in the cell; prisoners had to stand up. The floors of these cells were covered with excrement left by the occupants.

Prisoners who were being punished were put into these cells at night, and in the morning taken out to perform a full 10-hour day of work. This punishment was usually given to prisoners who had tried to sabotage the work done in the factories at Auschwitz.

The reconstructed door, which is shown in the picture above, opens into Cell #2; there is another cell to the right of the door, which you can see in the photo. To the left in the picture above, you can see the edge of the door into Cell #1 on the left, which gives you an idea of how small these cells were. Imagine the problem of removing a dead body from one of these cells!

Each Stehzelle (standing cell) was used for third degree punishment, which consisted of 3 days in a dark cell without room to lie down or sit. The standing cells were about the size of a phone booth and had no windows.

A description of the standing cells in Block 11 can be found in the book entitled “Das Bunkerbuch des Blocks 11, im Nazi-Konzentrationslager Auschwitz,” written by Franciszek Brol, Gerard Wloch, and Jan Pilecki, Hefte von Auschwitz (prisoners from Auschwitz), which was published in 1959. On page 120 of this book is a “Plan of the Bunker of Block 11 redrawn after the original plan No. 1152 of March 16, 1942.” On this plan, the four Stehzellen in Cell 22 are marked out and numbered 1-4.