The Paintings of Waclaw Kolodziejczyk


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Arrival of a Transport at the Belzec Death Camp Painting


During the 1960's, Waclaw Kolodziejczyk, a former railway employee at the Belzec railway station, created six paintings showing the Belzec death camp and the village during the German occupation. He and his family were eye-witnesses to the brutal conditions of the transports, as they passed through the station on the way to the death camp.

Shortly before his death, Waclaw Kolodziejczyk donated the paintings to the local parish church in the Belzec village, four of which are reproduced in this article. It must be stressed that Waclaw Kolodziejczyk never set foot in the death camp, and the two paintings of the death camp were from a combination of second-hand knowledge, along with a degree of artistic licence, and therefore cannot be treated as definitive illustrations. For example, the heavy wooden entrance gate has been replaced in the painting by a see-through iron gate, which is also the case with the second painting, showing the burning of the corpses.

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Belzec Death Camp - Burning the Corpses Painting


The next painting shows the punishment of Bartlomiej Panasowiec, a resident of the Belzec village, who was caught by the Germans spying on the death camp. Christian Wirth and Gottlieb Hering on horse-back chased him through the village setting their dogs on him and beating him with whips. Panasowiec was seriously injured but he survived the ordeal. As a Ukrainian, he and some of his family were resettled to the Ukraine. It is worth pointing out that the two SS-officers were pictured wearing German Army uniforms, which is incorrect, and to the right of the painting was the mill owned by Kessler

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Belzec - The Punishment of Bartlomiej Panasowiec Painting


The fourth painting is a fine painting of the old Belzec railway station before it was destroyed. On July 5, 1944, a German ammunition train was standing at the Belzec station when it was bombed in an attack by a lone Soviet fighter plane. In the ensuing explosion the station and a number of adjacent buildings were destroyed completely.

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Belzec - Old Railway Station Painting


All colour prints are courtesy of the Holocaust Historical Society


Source

Chris Webb - The Belzec Death Camp -History, Biographies, Remembrance, Ibidem-Verlag, Stuttgart 2016

Images - Holocaust Historical Society  

Holocaust Historical Society April 12, 2021