THE Polish community in Cork has honoured a forgotten survivor of Auschwitz who died in recent weeks. Walter Bujakowski, who was 98, died on October 11 at Mercy University Hospital 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.
The Together Razem organisation in Cork City became aware of Mr Bujakowski’s life when a story about his death was published in The Echo.
Now, they have honoured the man formerly known as prisoner 708 at Auschwitz with a wreath laying and candle lighting ceremony at his grave in Drinagh, with close family friends Kevin, Anita, and Patricia McCarthy.
Artwork honouring Mr Bujakowski by children attending the Razem Academy founded by Together Razem were also laid on his grave. The principal of the academy Agata Bialek, made contact with the Auschwitz museum to source more information about Mr Bujakowski.
Voyteck Bialek, chief executive of Together Razem, said: “Walter was sent to the Auschwitz camp on two separate occasions. In addition, he was also sent to two other concentration camps — Neuengamme near Hamburg and Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg. I hope that we will manage to find track of a documentary made by a student of Crawford College in Cork, in which Walter talks about his horrific experiences. The memory of him shall remain alive among the Polish community. We would like to publicise many other stories which create a link between our mother country and Ireland and to discover more memorial sites on the green island.”
Mr Bujakowski came from Biała Podlaska in Eastern Poland, where he was given the name Włodzimierz. In Ireland he was called Walter or Wally.
Mr Bialek added: “Włodzimierz Bujakowski wanted to join the Polish army after the Nazi Germany attack, but he was captured first by the Russians, shortly afterward by the Gestapo, sent to the prison in Tarnów, and then in the first transport to the camp in Auschwitz. His story of wandering from one concentration camp to another is filled with unimaginable suffering. Bujakowski was a prisoner number 708 in Auschwitz and rather rarely recalled his memories of war. After the end of the war, he went to Italy, a shelter for many Polish prisoners of war, and then he travelled to England.”
Many messages of condolences have been left for Mr Bujakowski on rip.ie by people moved by the fact he had survived Auschwitz.
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