Joe Engel papers
Photographs, correspondence, and other papers of Joe Engel, a Polish Jew imprisoned at Auschwitz from 1942 until 1945. Photographs depict Engel and other family members in pre-war Poland, as well as in Zeilsheim, a post-war German displaced persons camp. Other photographs show Engel and family members in Charleston, South Carolina, and Natanya, Israel. Correspondence relates to Engel's unsuccessful attempts to have his photograph displayed at the State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland.
- Engel, Joe, 1927- (Person)
Language of Material
Materials in English, German, Polish
This collection is open for research.
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Joe Engel was born on October 9, 1927, in Zakroczym, Poland, approximately 25 miles northwest of Warsaw. He lived with his parents and eight siblings in a rented three-room house. Engel spoke Yiddish at home and also knew some Polish, German, and Hungarian. He started attending cheder when he was five years old and began public school at the age of seven. After the German invasion of Poland in 1939, Engel's family was forced out of Zakroczym and escaped to Plonsk, east of Warsaw. Plonsk was eventually turned into a ghetto.
In 1942, the Nazis liquidated the Plonsk ghetto. Engel was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau in the fall of 1942. He was selected to attend a bricklaying school in the Auschwitz main camp. Engel worked in this camp until January 1945, when he and other prisoners were sent on a death march through Czechoslovakia, ahead of Russian forces. Survivors of the march, including Engel, were forced into open cattle cars, from which Engel escaped by jumping. He managed to hide from SS patrols in the area and joined a Nazi resistance group. Liberated by the Russian army in March 1945, Engel returned to Poland, eventually escaping to West Germany to avoid being drafted by the Polish army. In 1949, Engel obtained an affidavit to immigrate to the United States from an aunt living in Charleston, South Carolina.
0.25 linear feet (5 folders)
Photographs, correspondence, and other papers of Joe Engel, a Polish Jew imprisoned at Auschwitz from 1942 until 1945. Photographs depict Engel and other family members in pre-war Poland, as well as in Zeilsheim, a post-war German displaced persons camp. Other photographs show Engel and family members in Charleston, South Carolina, and Natanya, Israel.
Materials are described at the folder level.
Materials donated in 2000 by Joe Engel.
Alternate Form of Materials
Digital reproductions of photographs and oral history transcript available online in the Lowcountry Digital Library.
Processed by Rebecca McClure, May 2011.
- Auschwitz (Concentration camp)
- Holocaust survivors -- Poland
- Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Atrocities
- Zakroczym (Poland)
- Zeilsheim (Displaced persons camp)
- Zeilsheim (Frankfurt am Main, Germany)
- black-and-white negatives
- digital images
- Inventory of the Joe Engel Papers, 1938-2006
- Processed by: Rebecca McClure; machine-readable finding aid created by: Rebecca McClure
- Description rules
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Funding from the Council on Library and Information Resources supported the processing of this collection and encoding of the finding aid.