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17.12.2018

Doctor Jan Klonowski’s memorabilia in the collections of the State Museum at Majdanek

In September 2018 a collection of archives related to Doctor Jan Klonowski was added to the Museum's collections. The remembrances were donated by Antoni Klonowski, his son.

They included: birth certificate, report cards, maturity certificate, graduate degree, employment certificates, medical and military identity cards, as well as letters sent to family from various concentration camps. The collection is complemented by photographs of Dr Klonowski at various stages of his life.

Jan Klonowski was born on November 13, 1912, in Kuligi, Brodnica district, to the family of Anna and Alojzy Klonowski. He attended the State Male Middle School in Brodnica. There are 17 semester certificates from this period that have been preserved, proving that he was a diligent and talented student. In 1932, he passed his matura exam. After graduating from the middle school, he started studying at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Poznań, which he successfully completed in 1938, obtaining a medical degree.

Before the outbreak of World War II he worked as a doctor in the 63rd Infantry Regiment in Toruń. He was a soldier of the September Campaign; he also participated in the defense of Warsaw. He fell into captivity. After the capitulation of Warsaw, he managed to escape from the transport to the prison camp. After the beginning of German occupation he started working in the hospital of John of God in Lublin. He was accidentally arrested during a round-up, and he was sent to prison in the Lublin Castle, where he stayed from June 24 to July 1, 1940. Then he was deported to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, from where he was transported to KL Lublin. He was imprisoned in the Majdanek concentration camp from November 27, 1941, until its liquidation in July 1944. He was a participant in the last evacuation transport from KL Lublin to KL Auschwitz. At the end of October 1944, he was evacuated from Auschwitz to the Leitmeritz concentration camp, from which he was officially released on May 8, 1945.

In the Majdanek concentration camp, doctor Klonowski was marked with the number 25. His task was to organize a camp pharmacy, which he also directed. In addition to that, he cared for the health and mental condition of his fellow prisoners, letting them know himself as a devoted medic.

The role of Doctor Jan Klonowski, which he played in KL Lublin, was significant. The sacrificial work of acquiring medicaments and dressings for the camp pharmacy brought measurable results. The camp hospital was no longer a vestibule to the gas chambers for seriously ill prisoners. It became a place where they actually recovered and returned to a better physical and mental condition. Doctor Klonowski was absolutely aware of his medical mission and did it as well as he could under such difficult conditions. He was just a good and honest man, and at the same time a real patriot.

Directly after the war, doctor Klonowski was conscripted into the army, where he was the leader of the medical service. After the war, in 1973, he began working as a radiologist. He died in 2013. His closest relatives remember him as a great Father and Protector of the family.

The documents, photographs and memorabilia related to Jan Klonowski, which have been donated to the Museum, perfectly complement our knowledge about his life and activities, and help us to understand how he gained the potency for action. This is an extremely valuable gift, for which we would like to thank the Donators once again with all our hearts.

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