‘Champion of Auschwitz’: The boxer who brought hope

‘Champion of Auschwitz’: The boxer who brought hope

Polish boxer Tadeusz Pietrzykowski was known for his ability to dodge blows. Still, the odds were against him when he fought his first bout at the Nazi German death camp Auschwitz. Severely emaciated, Prisoner Number 77 was up against a much heavier German inmate — a “kapo” who oversaw other prisoners. “From around me I got warnings and gestures that I was crazy: ‘He’ll kill you, destroy you,'” he said in his official account for the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum after the war. “But there was no time to think… There was bread to be won. I was hungry, my friends were hungry,” said Pietrzykowski, the pre-war Champion of Warsaw in the bantamweight class. His courage paid off. With a successful left jab to the face, the 23-year-old
Polish boxer Tadeusz Pietrzykowski was known for his ability to dodge blows. Still, the odds were against him when he fought his first bout at the Nazi German death camp Auschwitz. Severely emaciated, Prisoner Number 77 was up against a much heavier German inmate — a “kapo” who oversaw other prisoners. “From around me I got warnings and gestures that I was crazy: ‘He’ll kill you, destroy you,'” he said in his official account for the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum after the war. “But there was no time to think… There was bread to be won. I was hungry, my friends were hungry,” said Pietrzykowski, the pre-war Champion of Warsaw in the bantamweight class. His courage paid off. With a successful left jab to the face, the 23-year-old