Michael Preisler, Auschwitz #22213: “The Germans created and operated Auschwitz as a death factory but a lot of American media call it a Polish camp, not a German camp.” 

 Brooklyn, N.Y. … One of the 20th century’s most tragic dates was September 1, 1939 when Nazi Germany started World War II by invading Poland and plunging the world

into a blood bath that lasted six long and cruel years.


New York’s Polish American community continues in the forefront of making sure this painful anniversary is always remembered. 


This year’s commemoration will be held at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section on Sunday, August 28th with a special memorial mass at 11:30 a.m.


Participating in the event will be the Downstate N.Y. Division of the Polish American Congress and several guests who lived in Poland when war broke out and survived it to later become American citizens.


Walter Kolodziejek’s memory of the German assault on Poland has been imbedded in his memory for more than seventy years.  It is more like a nightmare than a memory.


The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. openly displays the words of the order Adolf Hitler gave his generals just ten days before they marched into Poland:

to kill “mercilessly and without compassion men, women and children of Polish derivation and language.”


Mr. Kolodziejek became a victim of this venomous order and saw it carried out before and after he was sent to Auschwitz even before the war was a year old.  He was one of the first prisoners condemned to Auschwitz and  arrived as a teenager right after the Germans opened it in June, 1940. 


For the first two years of its existence, the majority of prisoners in Auschwitz were Polish Catholics like him.


He was also one of the first Auschwitz inmates on whom German doctors began their ghastly medical experiments. The Germans even nicknamed him “Iron Man” because he endured and survived so many of the experiments they performed on him. 


Michael Preisler was only nineteen when the Gestapo arrested him and had him sent to Auschwitz.  He arrived there less than a year after Mr. Kolodziejek’s  transport.


Before his arrest, Mr. Preisler had been a member of the Polish Underground Resistance.  His decision to fight in defense of Poland’s honor resulted in his confinement in Auschwitz for more than three years.  He says he “thanks God” he was able to survive and come to America.


Mr. Preisler has been co-chair of the Holocaust Documentation Committee of the Polish American Congress for more than twenty years.  He uses that position to, once again, defend Poland’s honor.


“Nowhere else is Holocaust history as distorted and as misrepresented as it is about Poland,” he says.  When a  dispute arose about a cross that stood on the perimeter of

Auschwitz with a demand that it be removed, Mr. Preisler spoke out publicly that its presence there was justified to honor the memory of the Polish Catholic prisoners who died in the camp.


Today he fights on another issue.  “The Germans created and operated Auschwitz as a death factory but a lot of  American media call it a Polish camp, not a German camp,”

he said.  “Things are so bad that one newspaper even described the Sachsenhausen concentration camp Hitler set up in  Germany three years before the war as a Polish camp.


Also in the congregation at the memorial mass will be Jadwiga Chrusciel, a veteran and a survivor of the Warsaw Uprising (The Rising) of August, 1944.


Ms. Chrusciel was one of the many Polish girl scouts and boy scouts who helped the Polish Underground Resistance (Armia Krajowa) in the Warsaw battle.  They fought the

Germans alongside their elders in a fight that took place on the streets, from the buildings and in the sewers of the city. 


For young Jadwiga, it was a personal and highly motivated fight since her father, Gen. Antoni Chrusciel was the one in command of the Armia Krajowa Home Army forces who

were fighting the Germans.


Joining the honored guests at the WW II commemoration will be members of the Children of Polish Christian Holocaust Survivors Committee of the Polish American Congress.


Frank Milewski

[email protected]




177 Kent St., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11222 – (718) 349-9689