Appell (Roll Call) – Jan Komski

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The painting Appell (Roll Call) – Jan Komski shows one morning. Life is not important at roll call.

Appell (Roll Call)

Appell (Roll Call) - Jan Komski

“At almost each block, beside the men standing in line, bodies of. persons are lying. These are the victims of the night that have not lived to see the day.

Even yesterday they were standing numbers at the roll call and today they lie, lifeless and motionless. Life is not important at the roll call.

Numbers are important. Numbers tally. How horribly they are looking, as if returned from the war. These are the marks of yesterday’s work.”

Salmen Gradowski (1973). in Amidst a Nightmare of Crime. Oswiecim: Auschwitz State Museum Publication.

Appell (Roll Call) - Jan Komski

Appell (Roll Call) – Jan Komski

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Jan Komski: Auschwitz through the Eyes of a Polish Inmate

 Jan Komski was a Polish Catholic arrested while crossing the border in attempt to reach the newly formed Polish Army in France. One of the first prisoners at Auschwitz, he arrived there on June 14, 1940 and given the number 564.

In 1942, Komski managed to escape but was later arrested again in the city of Krakow. Komski was lucky not to be recognized since his forged identity papers bore a different name. In addition to Auschwitz, Komski was imprisoned in Buchenwald, Hersbruck, Gross-Rosen and Dachau, where he was liberated in 1945.

After WWII, Mr. Komski immigrated to the USA, became a US citizen, and worked as an illustrator for the Washington post. He used to paint every day and, weather permitting, walked every day as well.

Mr. Komski passed away in 2002, at the age of 87. Till his last days, he remained alert, lively, very courteous and caring of others.

All art in this exhibit is copyright © Auschwitz Museum – Jan Komski. All rights reserved.