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Witold Baranowski was born on 2nd November 1910 in Stawropol, an government official by profession. Before the war and during the occupation, he lived in the Warsaw district of Bródno, at street Siedzibna 47/2, married to Zofia Baranowska. On September 26th 1938, for merits in the field of social and local government work, he was awarded the Polish Silver Cross of Merit.
On 1st August 1944, at 5:00 PM, the Warsaw Uprising broke out, at which branches of the Home Army (Armia Krajowa) attacked German troops in all districts of Warsaw. The attempt to liberate the right side of Warsaw, including Prague and Bródno fails. With the continuation of the Uprising and the approaching Red Army, the occupying German authorities with the help of the Police, Wehrmacht and Waffen SS units undertake preventive arrest and elimination the Warsaw population on the right bank of the Vistula, mainly men of enlistment age to avoid strengthening of insurgent units. During this wave of arrests in August 1944, Witold Baranowski in unknown circumstances is captured and leaves Warsaw from Pruszków in an unknown direction. From 11th of September 1944, he appears as a political prisoner with the number 91835 in the Ebensee Camp, which was a branch of Concentration Camp of Mauthausen. He is seen by his fellow prisoner, J.Lewandowski, on March 22nd, 1945, a few hours before the camp was liberated by the American army. He was in an agonal state on his deathbed. On the basis of witnesses' testimony, the Warsaw Court in 1948, Witold Baranowski he was declared officialy dead.
The set of documents is an important historical testimony showing the fatal consequences of the Warsaw Uprising for civilians, terrible internal conditions inside concentration camps and post-war searches for relatives and friends. The most important and unique document in the set is the last letter handwritten by Witold Baranowski during transport to the extermination camp. An uneven writing curve suggests that the letter was already written in the train's wagon and probably by a bribe or request sent by a Polish railway worker from Częstochowa on 8th September 1944. The Letter:
"Dear Aunts! My father, Zosia and the little Miecio stayed at home,(they) took me, I am in a transport - to where - I do not know. (I am) with my manager, Poznański and neighbors Dąbrowski and Sylwek Kaliśniowski from Bródno and Jerzy Podgórski. I'm leaving Pruszków. Greetings and see you. Maybe God will let me come back to the family and to you. I kiss hard, Witek. 28.VIII.44. "
Zofia Baranowska did not know what had happened to her husband. Her search via the Polish Red Cross is not effective. Only a letter written on December 27, 1945 by a colleague from the concentration camp Jerzy Lewandowski to Witold Baranowski gives new information.
"Pabianice, 27/12/45 "Beloved buddy Baranowski: It is very interesting whether you came home from the concentration Camp Ebeze and before that Mauthausen where we were together on a block of sholong, got ready for the stove. Although I was very weak, thank God I came back home, I'm just curious if you came back because we often told ourselves that if one of us comes back, it would be good if the family would know. I was taken away to the hospital by the Americans for treatments where I was for two months as I felt better I wanted to go home and so on July 15 I came to my beloved Pabianice. I looked just like I used to, however I have damaged health. I will not write much more, I'm just waiting for an answer, if you dear friend are alive or maybe someone from the family would write something about it because I'm very curious. Remains your friend from the Concentration Camp Ebenze. J Lewandowski. "
The second letter, sent on 14th March 1946, accurately describes the last moment of Witold Baranowski in the Ebensee concentration camp.
“Dear Madam Baranowska
It saddened me very much when I learned from your letter from your husband had not returned yet. Well, we were together with your husband on a block of sholung, that is, on a block finished to the furnace. we were called muzumani or people who were not able to work, so we only lay on hard bunks poorly starved to the extent that we did not have strength to fetch the food, so they brought it to the bunk. To eat we got there half of liter of boiled shells at midday, after at 4PM we half of 100 grams of black bread and half a liter of black coffee. It was our all-day food. And that's how we lay with your husband next to each other and he was very weak constantly said goodbye to us and said that he would not survive any longer, he only asked us so much that if one of us would survive to remember the address and to write his wife. To the Jew who was lying next to him, he talked about some property matters, the he (Jew) should write to his wife, as I was lying next to him I listened to this story and I was very weak. He missed his wife and child immensely, and also he kept turning constantly from side to side because scarred bones ached and returned to memories of what his wife was doing or wondered if his child is healthy and if she knew how he suffered. And so he laid with us until the 6th of May and on this special day we were liberated by the Americans because Witold was very ill he could not come off the bunt greet the American, a great happiness arous of shouts and cry and in that time we got lost with Witold and I have not seen him anymore because you can imagine so many thousands of people that it was confusion I was taken to the hospital in Linz where I spent a month and what happened to your husband I can not say it is strange that so far I can not say that Witold is dead, but maybe he is dead because in hospitals, despite great efforts, those which were too exhausted, died.
So it is difficult to reconcile with fate but maybe he will come back. I am sorry that I did not write for so long but I was supposed to be in Warsaw so I would go to you but I received a message and did not go, when I will came again (to Warsaw) I will visit you, I will be curious if Witek will really come back. I send sincere greetings to you and your child. J Lewandowski on 11/13/46. "
The search of Zofia Baranowska with the help of the Polish Red Cross has no effect. The letter of 23rd February 1948 states that PCK does not have any information about Witold Baronowski. The Grodzki Court in Warsaw, on May 23th 1948, declared him dead and stated the fact of death. Only a document from PCK written on 24 April 1978 confirms that Witold Baranowski was a political prisoner of the concentration camp Mauthausen (Commando Ebensee) with the number 91835, last seen on 22nd March 1945. The set is a unique historical source, emotional description of the days of occupation and the post-war fate of Poles and their search for loved ones. The offer includes all the items included in the photograph.