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All Soul’s Day at Majdanek. The Commemoration of Matylda Woliniewska

Within this year’s All Soul’s Day at Majdanek, on November 24, 1 p.m. an online meeting devoted to Matylda “Mata” Woliniewska will take place at the Museum’s Facebook site. The host, Anna Wójcik, will talk about Woloniewska, a former prisoner of Majdanek, KL Buchenwald, and KL Ravensbrück, with Fr. Jacek Nowak – Mata’s cousin and her close friend.

During the event she will not only be reminisced as a genuine legend of Majdanek and Buchenwald camps, but primarily as a person who always cared about others. The audience will have an opportunity to learn about Mata’s vivid biography, her pre-war activity, and the time at the camp. Woliniewska’s private side will be described by Fr Nowak, who was a frequent guest at her house. He stood by Matylda at different stages of her life, and assisted her in her final earthly journey.

When World War II broke out in 1939, Matylda Woliniewska was meant to be evacuated to the southern part of Poland. She managed to get as far as to Lublin, where she immediately took to organising feeding outposts for troops and refugees, as well as to collecting supplies, civilian clothes, and medicines for soldiers.

She returned to Warsaw in October 1939, where she soon became an activist of the Polish Socialist Party – Freedom, Equality, Independence. She became a liaison and was responsible for the distribution of underground press as well as for the encoding of reports sent abroad. Matylda Woliniewska was also a training instructor for the troops of the Home Army.

On November 9, 1942, Matylda was arrested by the Gestapo and detained at the Pawiak prison in Warsaw. Then, on January 17, 1943, she was transferred to the German Nazi concentration camp at Majdanek. The transport that included over 1.000 men and 311 women arrived at Lublin the following day. Matylda was detained at field V that housed the women’s camp at that time.

She remained at Majdanek until April 19, 1944, when she was evacuated together with other female prisoners to KL Ravensbrück.