Polish graphic novel tells stories of prisoners in Nazi concentration camp

TVN24 News in English


The stories of Holocaust survivors of the Majdanek concentration camp in the eastern Polish city of Lublin have been brought to life in a new graphic novel.

"Chleb wolnościowy" or "The Bread of Freedom", by author and artist Pawel Piechnik, draws mainly on the experiences of prisoners at the camp.

The phrase "Chleb wolnościowy" was used by prisoners in concentration camps to refer to bread baked outside the camp, and evoked their yearning to return home.

"There isn't a single word of mine in there" Piechnik said, saying that instead it was based on the written accounts of camp survivors in the years following the war.

He worked with State Museum at Majdanek, which now occupies the site of the camp, who contacted survivors and asked them whether they would want their experiences presented as a comic strip.

Agnieszka Kowalczyk-Nowak, a press officer at the museum, said the book showed that despite the brutal conditions in which they were living, prisoners maintained their empathy and compassion for one another.

The production and publication is among the ways the museum is marking the 75th anniversary of its foundation in November 1944, before World War Two had even ended.

The camp was liquidated between April and July of that year, and Soviet troops arrived at the site soon afterwards.

Pages from the book can also be seen on 15 panels scattered throughout Lublin's city centre.

Standing in front of one of the panels, high school graduate Paulina Szyszko commented that the book might help people not alive during World War Two to understand what had happened.

"Maybe somehow it has the potential to stay in their memory" Szyszko said.

Autor: gf / Źródło: TVN24 News in English, Reuters