Born July 25, 1908 in Zakopane, Poland; died June 5, 1944 in Auschwitz
From early on, Czech showed great promise as an artist. While initially registering at the School for Decorative Arts in Zakopane, Czech-who had been an internationally renowned ski jumper who had won several championships-instead enrolled in and studied at the Warsaw Central Institute for Sports Education in 1933.
Arrest and Deportation to Auschwitz
Czech was arrested in Zakopane on May 14, 1940 and imprisoned in Tarnów. June 14, 1940, along with the first transport of Polish prisoners, he was deported to Auschwitz, where he received prisoner number 349.
Work Assignments at Auschwitz
Czech was initially assigned to the Lagertischlerei (carpentry workshop) to make wooden shoes for prisoners and was later ordered to make spoons for prisoners. February 1941 he was transferred to the Auschwitz Camp Museum. There, he worked with Mieczysław Kościelniak, who taught him how to draw.
Art Produced at Auschwitz
Czech completed some SS commissions, that included wall paintings in the Auschwitz Museum and in SS quarters and barracks. He also produced more private works that included Tatra mountain folk scenes painted on glass, letters illustrated with mountain landscapes, and small wood sculptures.
Mid-1943 Czech was reassigned to work in the crematoria ovens and to clean SS barracks, where he was continually beaten. 1944, he became ill with typhus and died in early June of that year in the prisoner infirmary.
Archives at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oświęcim.
Goldmann, Sybille and Myrah Adams Rösing. Kunst zum Überleben: Gezeichnet in Auschwitz. Ulm, 1989.
Heubner, Christoph, Alwin Meyer, and Jürgen Pieplow, eds. Lebenszeichen: Gesehen in Auschwitz. Bornheim-Merten, 1979.
Jaworska, Janina. Nie wszystek umrę.... Warsaw, 1975.
Milton, Sybil and Janet Blatter. Art of the Holocaust. New York, 1981.