First prisoner at Auschwitz

Stanislaw Ryniak, Auschwitz Inmate, Dies at 88


February 28, 2004

WARSAW, Feb. 25 — Stanislaw Ryniak, the first person imprisoned at Auschwitz, the World War II Nazi concentration camp, has died. He was 88.


Mr. Ryniak was arrested by the Nazis in his hometown, Sanok, in southern Poland, in May 1940 and was accused of being a member of the Polish resistance. He was 24.

He arrived at Auschwitz on June 14, 1940, together with hundreds of other Polish political prisoners on that first train load of inmates.

Numbers were tattooed on prisoners’ arms in the order of their arrival. The first 30 numbers were given to German criminal prisoners who would serve as camp guards. Mr. Ryniak’s number was 31.

In 1944 he was sent to the Leitmeritz work camp, in what is now the Czech Republic, where he was subjected to hard labor until the end of the war. On his release, he weighed 88 pounds.


The Nazis, who started World War II by invading Poland on Sept. 1, 1939, built the Auschwitz camp in the southern city of Oswiecim in 1940 for Polish prisoners. (Auschwitz is the German rendering of Oswiecim.) They soon expanded it to include the Birkenau complex and began confining hundreds of thousands of European Jews. […]

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