Oldest Known Auschwitz Survivor Dies Aged 108

Oldest Known Auschwitz Survivor Dies Aged 108

The oldest known surviving prisoner from the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau has died in Poland at the age of 108.

Antoni Dobrowolski was a primary school teacher who held secret classes during the World War Two occupation of his country when education was banned by the German occupiers.

His death in the town of Debno, northwest Poland, was announced by historian Adam Cyra who works at the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial and museum.

Mr Dobrowolski was arrested in 1942 by the Nazis' Gestapo secret police for holding underground classes.

He was first sent to Auschwitz, in annexed Polish territory, and later transferred to Gross Rosen and Sachsenhausen, both in Germany.

The teacher, who was not Jewish, survived until the latter camp was liberated by Soviet and Polish forces in 1945.

Returning to Poland after the war, he first ran a primary school in Debno and then a secondary school.

Auschwitz-Birkenau is the most enduring symbol of the Holocaust, Nazi Germany's WWII campaign of genocide against Europe's Jews.

After the war's end in 1945, it was transformed into a memorial and museum by Poland.

A year after invading Poland in 1939, the Nazis opened what was to become a vast complex on the edge of the southern town of Oswiecim - Auschwitz in German - initially to hold and kill Polish prisoners such as Dobrowolski.

They later expanded it to the nearby village of Brzezinka, or Birkenau, as they took the Holocaust to an industrial scale.

Of the six million Jews killed by the Nazis during the war, one million were murdered at the camp, mostly in its notorious gas chambers, along with tens of thousands of others.

The Germans killed at least 1.1 million people at Auschwitz. Most of the victims were Jews, but many non-Jewish Poles, Roma and others were also killed.