The room you are in presents material related to the fight of the Radogoszcz massacre victims’ families for the truth about the fate of their relatives, for revealing facts about the crimes committed in the Radogoszcz Extended Policy Prison, and for bringing its butchers and torturers to justice.
It is hard to find words to describe the sight that met the eyes of those who first entered through the gate of the Radogoszcz prison after the evacuation of Germans. You can see this very graphic image on a recording of the Polish Film Chronicle. The chronicle cameraman found himself in Radogoszcz a few hours after Łódź had been seized by the Red Army. His camera not only captured the still smoking prison rubble, but mostly the dreadful sight of hundreds of charred bodies of the liquidation victims, piled up in the assembly square and in the burnt buildings. The chronicle also conveys emotions: despair, anger, and helplessness of those who found bodies of their relatives in the ruins. It bears a strong testimony to the tragedy of the murdered and of those who stayed alive.
On January 19, 1945, the first to go through the Radogoszcz gate were the inhabitants of nearby houses and prisoners’ relatives looking for information about their fate. At our exhibition, you can listen to their accounts. These stories, told in the words of eyewitness, offer different perspectives on the events that occurred in the ruins of the prison during the first hours and days after the liquidation of the facility.
The Radogoszcz massacre cannot be perceived as a fact limited to numbers and statistics. Most of all, these are more than a thousand stories of people consumed by fire and thirty-one stories of those who escaped the flames. Our exhibition presents four of them. In the personal files, you will find biographical notes of men who were in Radogoszcz on the fateful night of the massacre. Documents, letters, and kites hold information about their lives, reasons for their arrest, thoughts, and emotions that accompanied them in prison. In many cases, they were all devastated families managed to find.
Facts and statistics, without defining the historical issue, offer some context and framework for it. This is why we prepared an infographic summing up the events that took place in Radogoszcz over the five years of German occupation. It presents, in a chronological order, the key events connected with the establishment and operation of the prison, and with the crimes committed there. It uses the language of numbers and graphs to show the scale and the scope of these crimes. It is a measurable argument of accusation against those who should have been held liable for them.