Alexandra : Women of Honour

Alexandra : Women of Honour

Story of Aleksandra Kołodziejczyk: A Heroic Resistance Fighter from Auschwitz

In a powerful Oscar-winning film called “The Zone of Interest,” the untold story of Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss’s home life unfolds. Yet, amidst the chilling drama, a real-life hero emerges – Aleksandra Kołodziejczyk, a young girl dedicated to resisting the horrors within the concentration camp.

Aleksandra, born in 1927 near Auschwitz, experienced the brutality of the German occupation. Her father, a mine surveyor, was captured and sent to Dachau concentration camp. Despite deplorable conditions, he survived, and upon his return, his emaciated state shocked his family.

As the Nazis expanded Auschwitz, displacing thousands, Kołodziejczyk’s family faced uncertainty. A colored sign on their house determined their fate: red meant displacement, green signaled freedom. Forced to leave their home, they could only carry a few belongings.


Aleksandra Kołodziejczyk,

In 1941, at just 14, Kołodziejczyk joined the ZWZ-AK resistance movement. Operating under the code name “Olena,” she smuggled food, medicine, and messages to prisoners, working mainly at night. Her youth allowed her to act as a liaison between prisoners and the outside world, helping facilitate escapes and arranging meetings between loved ones.

The film depicts her burying apples in the mud, mirroring her real-life actions. Kołodziejczyk’s resistance included passing secret messages hidden on material scraps, providing crucial evidence for prosecuting Nazis after the war.

Living near the camp, she witnessed the brutality hidden from Höss’s children. One brave act saw her intervening to stop an SS guard torturing a prisoner, earning her the nickname “Juden Tante” for defending a Jew.

After the war, despite facing obstacles from Communist authorities due to her resistance activities, Kołodziejczyk remained in her town. Though she couldn’t pursue further education, she shared her experiences with filmmaker Jonathan Glazer, who dedicated his Oscar-winning film to her memory.

Filmmaker Jonathan Glazer ,

Tragically, Kołodziejczyk passed away during the film’s production, never witnessing the tribute to her courage. Yet, through Glazer’s work, her story will be eternally remembered, ensuring that her bravery and heroism shine as a beacon of light amid the darkness of Auschwitz.


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