80th anniversary of the first transport to Auschwitz

14th June 2020

On 14th  June 1940 the first transport of prisoners to Auschwitz set off from Tarnów. It consisted of 728 Poles, mainly young people being members of independence organisations, scouts, lower secondary school students, university students and representatives of Polish local elites. It was then that the largest German extermination camp started its operation.  The  First Transport to Auschwitz is a symbol of the beginning of  martyrdom of Poles in German camps. This date is considered to be the beginning of the operation of the German Auschwitz Concentration Camp. On this day we celebrate the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of the German Nazi Concentration Camps and Death Camps, established by the Polish Parliament in 2006 due to the efforts of the former Polish prisoners from the first transport, brought together in  the Christian Association of Auschwitz Families.

On 7th December 2019 a Social Committee of the 14th of June was established in Tarnów. It was created primarily to commemorate Polish people – the first victims of the German Auschwitz death camp, their martyrdom and sacrifice, of which very few people in the world remember. In the very heart of Poland, this memory is also disappearing. As part of the preparations, a number actions were organized, unfortunately limited by the coronavirus epidemic. Neither a rally of 728 motorcyclists nor a relay of 728 people from Tarnów to the Auschwitz Museum will take place this year, as the Museum is still closed. However, on such an important anniversary, we must remember those events in spite of everything and against everything.  It is the duty of every Polish citizen  In Lubin, there is the “Oak of Cavalry Captain Pilecki” planted on his 110th birthday. Witold Pielecki went to the German Auschwitz death camp as a volunteer 3 months after the first transport to Auschwitz  to testify to the truth. He witnessed people dying in Auschwitz. Capital Pielecki described this in his reports. He saw people being killed at the Death Wall – often singing the Polish National Anthem there. Hence the idea of paying homage to the victims of German camps –  under the Rotmaster’s Oak, playing the Polish National Anthem in honour of those murdered in German camps. The idea was welcomed by the National Wind Orchestra. The recording was shown primarily to living survivors of Nazi camps and their families.

Other musicians both in Poland and other countries engaged in this event, for example Polish brilliant deaf tenor Oliwer Palmer, a musician who loves Poland but lives in Moscow has also sent his recording of the anthem, Norbert Smoła Smoliński is preparing a recording, the Forteca band has recorded the song, and the Choir from Katowicegave us a beautifully sung psalm, which is the background of a spot reminding Poles about  14th June. We would like to invite everyone to actively join in! As a tribute and a gift from the Poles who have not forgotten and will not forget. Honour and glory to the Heroes!


Agata Gąsieniec – flute
Seweryn Graniasty – saxophone
Małgorzata Wiszniowska – horn
Karol Koczur – trumpet
Wojciech Krupiński – trombone
Michał Olearczyk – tuba



© 2019 The Polish National Wind Orchestra in Lubin.. All rights reserved