I have no idea how I survived it all," Ryniak told the Polish news agency PAP in a 1995 interview. "Where did I get the strength?"
http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2004 ... niak_x.htm
Auschwitz's first inmate dies at age 88
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Stanislaw Ryniak, the first person imprisoned at the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz, has died. He was 88.
Ryniak died of unknown causes and was buried Friday at the Osobowicki cemetery in Wroclaw, the Auschwitz Museum said Wednesday. No exact date of death was given.
Ryniak was arrested by the Nazis in his hometown of Sanok, in southern Poland, in May 1940 and accused of being a member of the Polish resistance. He was 24 at the time.
He arrived at Auschwitz on June 14, 1940, together with hundreds of other Polish political prisoners on that first train of inmates.
Numbers were tattooed on the prisoners' arms in the order of their arrival. The first 30 numbers were given to German criminal prisoners who would serve as camp guards.
Ryniak's number was 31, making him essentially the first inmate.
In 1944, Ryniak was transported 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.
Upon his release, he weighed only 88 pounds.
"I have no idea how I survived it all," Ryniak told the Polish news agency PAP in a 1995 interview. "Where did I get the strength?"
The Nazis, who set off World War II by invading Poland in September 1939, built the Auschwitz camp in the southern city of Oswiecim in 1940 for Polish prisoners. They soon expanded it to include the Birkenau complex and began interning hundreds of thousands of European Jews.
Some 1.5 million people, mostly Jews, died at the camp, either in its gas chambers or from disease and starvation.