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08.06.2018

485 days at Majdanek. New release of Jerzy Kwiatkowski's memoirs

73 years after the creation of the original typescript, we are releasing without the censorship or any deeper editorial changes the third edition of memoirs written by a Polish political prisoner of KL Lublin. 485 days at Majdanek is one of the most important reports that concern the functioning of the camp. The book will be launched on June 20, 2018, at 5.00 p.m. in the Voivodeship Public Library of Hieronim Łopaciński in Lublin.

New edition of Jerzy Kwiatkowski's 485 days at Majdanek, created by Wojciech Lenarczyk (scholarly editing) and Dorota Niedziałkowska (linguistic editing and proofreading) is free from censorship, editorial modifications, corrections, alterations and explanations as well as excessive stylistic embellishments. The earliest and complete version stored in Stanford containing the author's original subheadings was chosen as a basis for this edition. The work is preceded by an introduction, which contains Kwiatkowski's extended biography as well as editorial and publishing adventures of 485 days at Majdanek. The book is illustrated with author's pictures, the concentration camp and Field III layouts, the camp's documents and also the reproductions of the archives.

Jerzy Kwiatkowski (1894–1980) was born in Vienna, studied law at the University of Chernivtsi and at the University of Vienna. He fought on the fronts of World War I as a soldier of Austro-Hungarian army. He earned the rank of lieutenant. In the interwar period he was a vice-president of the Warsaw Branch of Polish Industrial Bank, the Administrative Director of magazines ‘ABC,’ ‘Wieczór Warszawski’ and Drukarnia Literacka and then the factory of machine tools ‘Pionier,’ where he was a shareholder.

On March 18, 1943, Kwiatkowski was arrested for collaborating with the Home Army. On March 25 he was placed in Konzentrationslager Lublin, where he was located on the Field III and assigned with the gardener’s duties. From October 1943 till spring 1944, he worked in the camp's mailing house and then he was a regular prisoner undertaking heavy physical work. Kwiatkowski left Majdanek on July 22, 1944, in the last transport of prisoners. He stayed in Auschwitz for a month and then he was relocated to KL Sachsenhausen. He was liberated by American soldiers during the evacuation march on May 3, 1945, near Schwerin in the state of Mecklenburg.

During his stay in Bordesholm and Maczków, British occupation zone in Germany, Kwiatkowski started writing his memoirs from KL Lublin. He wrote on the German transport company waste paper, on borrowed typewriter, in a room without heating. In December 1945, the typescript was ready.

Because the magazines and publishers from Western Europe showed little interest at the beginning, the first edition of memoirs was not published until 1966. It varied considerably from the typescript considering the censorship of more than hundred excerpts and extensive editorial corrections from the publishing house Wydawnictwo Lubelskie, which released the book. The second edition of the memoirs was published in 1988 in almost unchanged form.

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