The granddaughter of Karolina Sitek, a resident of Zakopane imprisoned in the German Nazi Ravensbrück concentration camp, will recover a ring with a red stone belonging to her grandmother. An Arolsen Archives volunteer managed to establish contact with the woman’s family. She left a note on the deceased’s grave asking for contact. Soon there will be a ceremonial handover of the family heirloom, which was found in a hiding place in Lunden after the war.
The ring was hidden by the Nazis in a hideout in Lunden in Schleswig-Holstein, where the Allies found it after the war. Later, the Arolsen Archives International Center for the Study of Nazi Persecution was looking for the heirs of the jewelry as part of the #StolenMemory campaign.
Robbed by Germans the ring belonged to Karolina Sitek née Barcik and will be ceremonially handed over on Friday to her granddaughter living in Zakopane.
Rescued from the camp
Karolina Sitek née Barcik was born on May 20, 1907 in Zakopane. During the war she lived in Katowice, where she worked as a seamstress. On April 12, 1944, she was deported to the Ravensbrück concentration camp – she received the number 34503 and was considered a political prisoner. At the time of her arrest, she was carrying a ring with a red stone. On August 31, 1944, she was transferred to the Neuengamme concentration camp, where she received number 4570.
Thanks to the help of Count Folke Bernadotte and the Swedish Red Cross, she was rescued in the spring of 1945 and taken to Sweden, from where she returned to Poland on October 11, 1945 and settled in Zakopane. She lived to old age in the town near Giewont and was buried here.
They found their granddaughter thanks to her grandmother’s grave
The ring, along with other prisoners’ deposits, was found after the war by the Allies in a hiding place prepared by the Germans in a pub in Lunden in Schleswig-Holstein. After the war, the deposits were transferred to subsequent institutions with the task of finding the rightful owners or their relatives and returning them. The last institution entrusted with this task was the International Search Service, or Arolsen Archives.
Karolina Sitek’s granddaughter was found by a volunteer. On the grave of a former prisoner of German concentration camps in Zakopane, a volunteer left a note with information that a deposit from World War II had been preserved and asked for contact. The granddaughter, who was visiting her grandmother’s grave, saw this information and contacted the volunteer and then the Arolsen Archives.
The #StolenMemory campaign was initiated in 2016 by the Arolsen Archives International Center for the Study of Nazi Persecution in order to find the families of former concentration camp prisoners and provide them with personal items stored in the archive in Bad Arolsen. These items were taken from victims when they were imprisoned in German Nazi concentration camps.
The Arolsen Archives currently holds approximately 2.5 thousand items. envelopes with such things. Since the beginning of the campaign, nearly 800 items have been returned. The preserved items include wedding rings, watches, rosaries, pens and wallets with photos. These souvenirs very often become a starting point for reconstructing the history of the victims of Nazi persecution and restoring the memory of their tragic fate.
Main photo source: Unknown photographer / Bridgeman Images – RDA / Forum