Survivor of Auschwitz Camp Dies At 89
John Nicholas Wiernicki of Bethesda, Maryland passed peacefully on Friday, July 17, 2015.
John lived an amazing life. He was born in Poland on July 28, 1925. Following the German invasion of his country in 1939, he joined the Polish Underground Movement as a teenager and served with the Home Army Partisans, where he fought against the invading German forces. In 1943 he was arrested by the Gestapo and imprisoned in the Concentration Camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Later he was deported to the Buchenwald and Ohrdruf Concentration Camps, where he eventually escaped from his captors. He joined the Polish Second Corps in Italy and graduated from officer’s training school as a commissioned officer.
After the war, he resettled in England where he attended the University of London, graduating with a degree in architecture. In 1952, he met his future wife, Anne. In 1957, they moved to the United States to begin a new life together. After working in private practice as an architect in Philadelphia, John started a long and successful career with the United States Postal Service. He retired in 2002 as the Director of the Office of Design and Construction, where he managed a nationwide effort to upgrade postal facilities and modernize mail service.
In November 2001, he completed his wartime memoir as a Polish resistance fighter and survivor of the death camps. In 2002, his memoir, titled “War in the Shadow of Auschwitz”, was published. The President of Poland awarded John the Cross of Auschwitz, the Partisans’ Cross and the Cross of the Polish Home Army.
His wife Anne passed away on June 11, 2015. They were married for sixty-one years.
John is survived by his two sons and their wives, Chris and Joan Wiernicki of The Woodlands, Texas and Peter and Katherine Wiernicki of Potomac, Maryland. He dedicated his memoir to his five grandchildren Sarah, Anna, Caitlin, Caroline and John, with his hope that in their lifetime they would never have to experience the wartime anguish and pain that his generation had suffered. Mass of Christian Burial on Saturday August 1, 2015 at Our Lady Queen of Poland/St Maximilian Kolbe , 9700 Rosensteel Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20910. To leave condolences or remembrances please visit the website for Joseph Gawler’s Sons and open the guest book for John. Memorial donations may be made in his name to either the United States Holocaust Museum ( www.ushmm.org/support ) or Montgomery Hospice (www.montgomeryhospice.org).