ONE of the last survivors of Auschwitz concentration camp, who had lived in west Cork for almost 40 years, has died.
98-year-old Walter Byokowski died on Saturday at Mercy University Hospital in Cork.
He had been living near Drinagh with his west Cork-born wife Kathleen since 1981.
The couple had met in London, where Walter worked as an accountant for many years.
Close friend Kevin McCarthy told The Echo that he had spent a number of years in Auschwitz and had been known as prisoner 708. He rarely spoke about his experiences in the camp.
“He was a gifted man when it came to stone work and timber work, and he was a great cook," Mr McCarthy said.
He also was a great photographer.”
Local man JC Daly also knew him well and described him as a private person who liked gardening.
More than 1.1 million people died at Auschwitz between 1940 and 1945.
They included people who were Jewish, Polish, Roma and Sinti people, Soviet prisoners of war and Jehovah’s Witnesses who had been rounded up by the Nazis.
Walter was originally from eastern Poland.
A private funeral is being held for him in adherence to public health Covid-19 measures.
Several messages of condolences have been left for him on rip.ie by people who never met him but were moved by the fact that he had survived Auschwitz.
It was the largest of the German Nazi concentration camps and was established in 1940 and was liberated by the Russians in 1945. During its existence, trains brought people from all over German-occupied Europe to the camp.
A memorial and museum are at the site today and it receives millions of visitors every year.