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Jan Sowka awaits execution in the forest near Buchenwald concentration camp.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 13140

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    Jan Sowka awaits execution in the forest near Buchenwald concentration camp.
    Jan Sowka awaits execution in the forest near Buchenwald concentration camp.

    Overview

    Caption
    Jan Sowka awaits execution in the forest near Buchenwald concentration camp.
    Date
    1942 April 26
    Locale
    [Poppenhausen], [Thuringia] Germany
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Robert A. Schmuhl
    Event History
    On April 26, 1942, a Polish forced laborer, who worked at Bauern Schmidt's couryard was beaten to the point of unconsciousness by a German policeman, Albin Gottwald. Two Poles took revenge on Gottwald and stabbed him to death on a forest path between Poppenhausen and Einoed. The two Poles then escaped. One of the two Poles, Jan Sowka (b. 10/19/22 in Thayngen, Switzerland) was apprehended shortly after his escape. On May 11, 1942, nineteen prisoners from Buchenwald were taken to the place in the woods where Gottwald's body had been found. The Buchenwald SS built three gallows -- two conisted of ten hooks each, and one was a single gallows. The nineteen Polish prisoners were positioned behind the gallows, and Jan Sowka stood on the opposite side. The executions began at 10:50 where the prisoners and Jan Sowka were hanged one after another on the single gallows. At the end, they were all hanged from the two group gallows. Hundreds of Polish forced laborers from the surrounding area were rounded up and forced to watch the executions.

    See https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005198.
    See Also "Buchenwald Main Camp" in Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos Volume 1 Part A.

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Robert A. Schmuhl
    Source Record ID: Collections: 1995.A.1119
    Second Record ID: Collections: RG-10.137

    Keywords & Subjects

    Record last modified:
    2004-10-18 00:00:00
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/pa1051073

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