Photos of Auschwitz Child Victim from 1942 Discovered

Czeslawa Kwoka was a Polish prisoner in Auschwitz during World War II. The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum claims that she and her family arrived on December 13th, 1942 at Auschwitz. About 3 months later, on March 12th, 1943, Czeslawa died there at the age of 14.

photos auschwitz child victim 1942 discovered

Prisoner identity photographs, taken by Wilhelm Brasse, of Czeslawa Kwoka of Poland. According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Czeslawa arrived with her family at Auschwitz on Dec. 13, 1942, and died on March 12, 1943. She was 14. (Credit Auschwitz Museum, via Associated Press)

Czeslawa was born in a small Polish village named Wolka Zlojecka. Her mother was a Catholic named Katarzyna Kwoka and she became a prisoner right along with her daughter. They were both taken by Nazis from Zamosc, Poland and delivered to the Auschwitz prison camp. Czeslawa’s mother died on February 18th, 1943, just one month before Czeslawa died too. There is no record of why or how they died. From 1940 all the way until 1945, there were roughly 230,000 young people under 18 who were taken to Auschwitz out of a total 1,300,000.

When Czeslawa arrived at her final destination in Auschwitz, a photographer named Wilhelm Brasse took pictures of her. The concentration camp wanted to keep photographic records of their prisoners. Wilhelm was a twenty-something Polish prisoner himself and was ordered by the Nazi guards to take these pictures of new arrivals for them. There were at least 40,000 prisoners who had their pictures taken this way. Wilhelm was chosen to take the pictures because he was a skilled photographer who learned from his aunt how to take portrait photos before being captured himself. Wilhelm, along with other photographers of the camp, was forced to take these pictures or else they would be killed by the Nazis.

Each photograph that Wilhelm took required the inmates to conduct three different poses. The negatives and photos were eventually ordered by the Nazis to be destroyed, but Wilhelm later recovered some of them after the war and became famous for it. This would ensure that people would never forget what happened during the Holocaust.