Today, we received the sad news that our friend Marian Hawling died in Australia on October 17, 2023. He was 98 years old.
Marian Hawling was born on January 31, 1925, in Lwow, Poland, now Ukraine. During the German Wehrmacht’s invasion of Poland in September 1939, he decided to support his country in the fight against Germany. He fought in different units and underground organizations in various European countries. Among other things, he helped Polish citizens get from France to Spain. When his activities were exposed, he tried to return to Poland, but was picked up in France without papers and handed over to the Germans.
Via the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, Marian Hawling was transferred to the Neuengamme Concentration Camp and later to the Neuengamme subcamps of Alderney and Bremen Farge, where he was forced to do hard labor. From there, the SS transported him back to the Neuengamme Concentration Camp. As one of the last prisoners at the camp, Marian Hawling was taken aboard the "Cap Arcona" ship in the Lübeck Bay, where the SS brought thousands of prisoners from the Neuengamme Concentration Camp at the end of April 1945. He survived the sinking of the ship after it was bombed by the Royal Air Force on May 3, 1945.
Marian Hawling immigrated to Australia and started a family. For decades he did not speak about his experience. Only his son, Mark, got him to speak and write down his memories for the family. We met Marian in person in May 2010, when he came to Germany with his children, Michelle and Mark, for the 65th anniversary of the end of the war and the liberation of the concentration camps. He gave the keynote speech during the memorial ceremony in Neustadt/Pelzerhaken on May 3, 2010. He and his children also participated in the conference „Survivors talk to their children“ and spoke about the transmission of memory within their family.
The contact between the memorial and Marian Hawling never stopped, although Marian, to his great regret, could no longer travel to Germany.
We mourn the loss of our friend Marian and his loved ones are in our thoughts.