Dr Dorota Lorska

How to cite: Kłodziński, S. Dr Dorota Lorska. Kapera M., trans. Medical Review – Auschwitz. December 1, 2020. Originally published in Przegląd Lekarski – Oświęcim. 1967: 236–241.


Stanisław Kłodzinski, MD, 1918–1990, lung specialist, Department of Pneumology, Academy of Medicine in Kraków. Co-editor of Przegląd Lekarski – Oświęcim. Former prisoner of the Auschwitz‑Birkenau concentration camp, prisoner No. 20019. Wikipedia article in English.

The premature death of Dr Dorota Lorska on 15 October 1965 came as a shock to her many friends and all the milieus in which she had been active. Her demise was a permanent loss both for her family and work colleagues as well as several political and social organisations.

Dr Dorota Lorska. Source: Przegląd Lekarski – Oświęcim, 1967. Click the image to enlarge.

Dorota Lorska née Goldscheider was born on 3 November 1913 in Kielce. Her childhood friends remember her as a blue-eyed girl with a face framed by exuberant blond locks. Though a cheerful child, she could be quite thoughtful for her age. Her happy eyes sometimes became pensive: perhaps she was concerned about the problems that afflicted her family and immediate environment. She was an outstanding pupil and finished secondary school in Kielce in 1930. Not only was she very gifted, but also exceptionally dutiful, diligent, and kind-hearted. Her serious attitude to life was connected with her family background. Her father was a housepainter and a respected socialist, active in the workers’ movement in Kielce. He spent his free time teaching his daughter that she should always stand up for the truth and the underprivileged. He passed on all he had learned about life to her, but died prematurely, leaving Dorota an orphan at 16.

She was a good helpmate to her friends, offering them free tuition. She stood out in the circle of her peers for her knowledge and skills as well as for her modesty. Dorota was patient and efficient, explaining complex mathematical or grammatical problems, never providing ready-made solutions, but showing the way towards independent and creative work. What she always sought in her pupils was their positive and constructive thinking.

Having finished secondary school, Dorota decided she would study medicine, despite the obstacles. The universities in pre-war Poland did not admit practically any Jewish candidates who wanted to become medical students, therefore, in order to attain her goal, she moved to Prague, Czechoslovakia. Studying there, she had to put up with poverty and hardship. She made friends with Rosa Coutelle, with whom she shared a tiny rented room in a house on Slavojova in the Nusle district of the city. Dorota quickly adapted to her new environment and often worked long into the night. She found a new family too: her landlady and her two little daughters were like a mother and sisters to her. Thanks to her perseverance, she managed to overcome the language barrier and did not have to struggle to pass her examinations. She mastered not only Czech, but also French and Esperanto. She appreciated especially the last language as a useful tool to communicate with people in need. Moreover, she engaged in the political life of the student circles and sided with the most radical left wing. She was keenly interested in the most urgent problems of the international working-class movement. When she was finishing her studies, her attention focused on Spain, which was ravaged by the Civil War. As she was impulsive and her words were quickly followed by deeds, as soon as she had graduated, she set off for Spain, thus becoming one of the crowd of foreign volunteers who joined the Republicans. Because she was a citizen of Poland, it was not easy for her to arrange a journey from Czechoslovakia to Spain. She solved that problem by contracting a sham marriage1 and becoming Dobroslava Kleinova, a naturalized citizen of Czechoslovakia. In July 1937 she arrived in Albacete in the region of La Mancha, the headquarters of the International Brigades. She brought an ambulance as a gift purchased with funds she had raised. She was posted to the Jan Amos Komenský field hospital, established by Czechoslovaks in Benicássim. Slavka, as she was called for short, was the youngest doctor, not only in that particular institution, but also in the whole city. Her co-workers were Dr Alonso and Dr Vlasta Vesela, who later became her closest friend. Besides performing her usual medical duties, Slavka took care of the seriously ill patients, some of whom had undergone a surgical procedure. She found time to talk to the sick, wrote letters they dictated, read to them, and ran a variety of errands for them. It was there that she met Andrzej Lorski, her future husband, and took one of the most crucial steps in her life by joining the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. She stood by that decision even in the toughest and direst moments of her life.

On her twenty-fourth birthday (in November 1937), she was toasted by the head of the hospital, Dr Tallenberg (who was later killed in action). By that time, she had become so well-known in Benicássim that she was congratulated on her birthday even by the wounded, whom she looked after like a caring mother, and by the children who had come from the orphanage to wish her a happy birthday. Their warm affection was no surprise, because Dora, as they called her, often did night duty, filling in for her colleagues, and took an active part in the cultural and social life of the Czechs, Poles, and Esperanto speakers. She learnt Spanish in a very short time. Also, she organised and ran a literacy class, and visited orphans in a children’s home. In Benicássim she made friends with Egon Erwin Kisch and his wife. Kisch, an anti-Nazi writer and journalist and a citizen of Czechoslovakia, aptly summed up Lorska’s strong points when, in a book dedication, he wrote, “To Dorinka,2 who could be my daughter, but is like a mother to me.” People gave her several other pet names in different languages: “la Dobra,”3 “la bonne,” or “la devouée.”

Dr Dorota Lorska tending to a wounded patient in the hospital in Benicássim. Source: M. Ciesielska, Szpital obozowy dla kobiet w KL Auschwitz-Birkenau (1942–1945). Click the image to enlarge.

When the front got nearer and nearer, the hospital had to be evacuated. Its new head, Dr Jensen, planned to send Dorota off with the first transport, but she refused to join it and stayed to do her duty until the last moment. The Jan Amos Komenský hospital was transferred to Mataró, Catalonia. Upon arrival, Dorota met several of her patients again and some reunions were really moving. Exhausted by the evacuation, irritable and fretful patients suffering from their wounds and diseases worried about the losses of the Republicans, but were soon calmed down by her attitude, full of kindness, understanding, and dignity. Amid the horrors of war, young Slavka did not give in to the rising panic.

From Mataró, the hospital was evacuated to Vic, further north in Catalonia. Now it admitted not only the wounded, but also patients with typhus. Dorota volunteered to work in the infectious ward. As it was more and more difficult to purchase provisions, she tried to procure food for her patients wherever she could. The fighting was becoming heavier day by day. The hospitals had to take in more and more wounded Republicans, among whom Dorota recognized some of her former patients, now with new wounds.

There is a description of the period by Rudi Göbel, a German Communist and a soldier of the International Brigades, later Auschwitz prisoner No. 9500. He was wounded a second time in the Spanish Civil War when crossing the River Ebro during the 1938 offensive against the Nationalists. Rudi was shot in the left leg during a night skirmish. On the following day, he was transported from the first aid post to Barcelona. The wounded were billeted in factory rooms, where they awaited surgery. Dressings and anaesthetics were in short supply. It took longer for the less seriously wounded to see a surgeon. After five or six days of waiting, Rudi was running a fever and his wound started suppurating. However, he was terrified by the prospect of an operation and delayed his decision. The person who persuaded him he should be operated on, even without anaesthesia, was a young woman doctor who explained that otherwise his leg would have to be amputated. When Rudi was finally convinced the procedure was absolutely necessary, he was tied firmly to the operating table and told by the doctor to hold on tight to its edges and clench his teeth. Rudi remembered the tired, but beautiful face of the overworked medic with a scalpel in her hand. After a moment of stillness, he felt a sharp pain, and the bullet fell into a tin vessel. The wound was closed with three metal clamps inserted in the flesh, which actually hurt more than incising and probing the wound. Yet the man neither cried out nor tugged at his ties, thanks to the calm suggestions of the doctor, as he claimed. Readers will guess that the young woman was probably Slavka Kleinova.

Joined by her friend Dr Vlasta Vesela, Dorota left for Paris, where she met her husband Andrzej Lorski, E.E. Kisch, as well as other friends and acquaintances who had fled Spain too. She immediately initiated efforts to aid her comrades in internment camps for foreigners. In 1939 she started work in the internal diseases ward of the municipal hospital in Eaubonne near Paris.

In May 1940, German forces invaded France, which was ultimately defeated in June. Lorska joined a group of underground Czech fighters collaborating with the French resistance. In November 1942 the Germans entered the hitherto unoccupied French territory, the zone libre (free zone). By that time, Lorska had become a member of the FTPF (Francs-Tireurs et Partisans Français). In July 1943 she was arrested by the Gestapo. She was exceptionally calm and courageous under interrogation, never losing her poise and always giving careful answers. Shortly afterwards, in early August 1943, she and the other interned resistance fighters were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Upon arrival, she was registered as No. 52325. She was taken to Block 10, infamous for its pseudo-medical experiments on women. The block had about fifty residents, crowded in small rooms and used as human guinea-pigs in experiments whose purposes were not disclosed to them. The atmosphere was full of extreme fear caused by the supervisors’ brutality, frequent punishments, starvation rations, and primitive sanitation, which was particularly problematic for women in such a predicament. What was worse, the adjacent building was Block 11 (Death Block), where prisoners were executed.

Upon arrival in Auschwitz, Lorska met Rudi Göbel, who had been her patient in Spain. Actually it was Göbel who saw her in a group of Jewish new arrivals from France, when they were standing in the Birkenallee (birch alley). As a block elder, Rudi had to supervise incoming transports. He found an opportunity to talk to Lorska in the old laundry room, where the women had to wait naked with their heads clean shaven. It was difficult for Rudi to recognize the doctor whom he had known. He wangled the basic clothes she needed and notified other Spanish Communists and Ernst Burger4 that Lorska was imprisoned in Auschwitz too. In this way she immediately became a member of the camp resistance movement.

She was given a job as a prisoner doctor in Block 10, supervised by Carl Clauberg,5 and had to conduct laboratory tests for Hans Münch6 of the SS Institute of Hygiene at Raisko.7 She promptly started to seek ways to improve the situation of the inmates in the block. In order to allay their fears and despair, she wanted to inspire them with a sense of solidarity, togetherness, and mutual assistance. As far as it was possible, she modified procedures, to make the experiments more bearable for the victims. Dr Lorska features in the recollections of Dr Alina Brewda,8 later the elder of Block 10, who was transferred from Majdanek to Auschwitz on special orders: Alina was a gynaecologist. At the time, Dr Brewda had pneumonia, but thanks to Lorska, she received proper medication and quickly recovered. Alina became acquainted with the situation in Block 10: a total of sixteen women Communists, members of the French resistance, were confined there. Dr Lorska was their fearless defendant. As she had already established contact with the male members of the camp resistance in Auschwitz I, she was able to help the women in Block 10, although formally she was employed by the Institute of Hygiene. She procured medicines for the prisoners during the scarlet fever epidemic and did night duty for the victims of the operations performed by Carl Clauberg, Eduard Wirths,9 Maximilian Samuel,10 and others. She made sure her sixteen comrades were allocated for Hans Münch’s experiments, to avoid being operated on by Clauberg, Horst Schumann,11 or Wirths. She often assisted at emergency night-time operations12 and wangled ethyl chloride or other anaesthetics to perform them. When Dr Brewda was incarcerated in the Bunker13 and then transferred to Birkenau, where she spent three months, Dr Lorska used all the possible contacts of the camp resistance members to re-employ her in Block 10, which she managed to do by December 1944.

While working in Block 10, Dr Lorska was active as a member of the international resistance movement in the camp. Her closest friends were the camp elder Ludwig Wörl,14 Ernst Burger, Hermann Langbein,15 Karl Lill16 as well as rank-and-file prisoners Józef Cyrankiewicz,17 Tadeusz Hołuj,18 and myself. One of Lorska’s missions was to use the resistance network to inform the Polish Underground State19 of the crimes that were being committed in Block 10 and the activities of the SS Institute of Hygiene. The information she provided was put in the reports of the camp resistance movement and dispatched, via underground contacts on Polish territory, to the Polish government-in-exile in London, so the truth about pseudo-medical experiments in Auschwitz was disseminated still during the War. Lorska’s reports were brief and precise. One of them was published by the Polish underground press and is preserved in London’s wartime archives. This is how she described Block 10:

Block 10 has been in use as an experimental block for almost a year. There are about 450 women in it; they are patients of Professor Schumann, Professor Clauberg, and Drs Wirths and Weber. The first experiments were carried out by Professor Schumann, mostly on young Greek girls (aged 15 to 18). The experiments involved sterilisation by irradiation followed by the removal of both of the ovaries (oophorectomy). There have been no more operations in the recent months. The last operations were carried out three months ago, on 10 girls who had been irradiated some time earlier. One of them died straight after the operation (probably due to an internal haemorrhage in outcome of surgical error). Of the remaining 9, so far two have become seriously ill; the rest have to stay in bed. At the moment, Prof. Clauberg has 175 patients. I cannot say exactly what he is doing to them. All we can see is that he injects a liquid, (and he is the only one who knows what it is) into the uterus in order to fill the Fallopian tubes, and then X-rays the patient. Perhaps he wants to try out a new contrast agent for X-raying the uterus and adnexa, which should not be harmful. The procedure is repeated 4-5 times with every patient, at irregular intervals. Clauberg does not want to discharge the women he has experimented on, nor does he want them to be used in any other experiments. I cannot say what he plans to do with them in the future. He performs all the procedures personally, with the help of untrained staff, who do not understand what he is doing. Four months ago, on Dr Wirths’ orders, Dr Samuel carried out excisio partialis portionis vaginalis uteri, that is the removal of the mucous membrane around the opening of the cervix. The procedure is to help to diagnose cancer in its early stages. As such, it is minor surgery and does no permanent damage, but if the operator is careless, bleeding may ensue. Dr Samuel worked at quite a pace: he operated on three or more women a day, which he was not required to do. The “used subjects” were sent to Birkenau on the first transport available. … To keep his job, Dr Samuel torments many women with daily gynaecological examinations using a colposcope and making photographic records. The laboratory of the Institute of Hygiene determined the blood type for almost all the women and took more blood from the healthier ones. It was then used to prepare test serum (serum is required to determine blood type). Over six months, there were 150 donors, and the average amount taken was 100-150 cubic cm. The donors receive an extra ration of soup and a serving of bread and sausage. Now new experiments are being conducted: saliva is tested for the agglutinins used in blood typing. The person in charge is Dr Münch. The subjects are given intradermal injections of a dissolved streptococcal toxin to check for signs of inflammation. This experiment seems innocuous. The experiments that are going on now include: a) injections administered by Prof. Clauberg; b) colposcopic examinations performed by Dr Samuel; c) tests run by the Institute of Hygiene lab. From the point of view of science, these experiments are nonsensical, however, they impact on the health of the women in the following way: 1) Schumann’s patients are maimed for life; 2) Clauberg’s patients (at least most of them) do not experience any unpleasant reaction at the moment, but we cannot know what symptoms they might develop later; 3) those of Samuel’s patients who have been operated on do not live in this block any more, the rest of them are in other experiments; 4) the tests run by the Institute of Hygiene do not cause any permanent aftereffects.

Report by Sława Klein [Dorota Lorska], Archives of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, ref. no. 209/72/3

One of Dr Lorska’s tasks for the resistance movement was to maintain contact between the men’s camp20 and the women’s camp in Birkenau, which she did with the help of some trusted women prisoners. In November 1943 they lost contact due to a typhus epidemic: the women’s camp was quarantined. Dr Lorska and Dr Brewda obtained permission from the SS garrison physician, Dr Wirths, to offer a special monthly training course to the female nurses from Birkenau (in fact they were acting on behalf of the camp resistance movement). As the course was held in Auschwitz I, where male prisoners were confined, contact with the women’s camp was re-established. The Communist Karl Lill, No. 61356, said in his statement that Dr Lorska initiated the establishment of a Kommando of herb gatherers, who worked in the meadows near the camp. One of the aims was to make the lives of the inmates of Block 10 easier by giving them an opportunity to leave the premises at least from time to time. Thanks to the enterprise, some of the most active and politically aware women did not have to participate in the experiments.

Lorska saved many fellow prisoners, for instance Wanda Jakubowska, who was transferred from the Gärtnerei (gardening unit) to the penal unit in Birkenau. While marching across Auschwitz I, she pretended to have sprained her ankle. Lorska bravely hauled her out of the column of prisoners, bandaged her leg, and informed the guard that Jakubowska had to be taken to hospital. The initiator of the plan was Józef Cyrankiewicz, who wanted to save an active member of the resistance from certain death.

Dorota Lorska (first on the left) with her fellow prisoners, Malka Guterman and Hadassa Lerner. Afterwar photograph. Source: M. Ciesielska, Szpital obozowy…

When it was clear that Auschwitz would soon be liberated,21 Lorska realized the prisoners would be evacuated. She and Dr Brewda decided to stay behind with those patients who were unable to follow the orders to leave (by that time Block 10 had been moved to the barracks adjacent to the men’s camp). Both women were waiting for instructions from the camp resistance and did not know if they should join the evacuees or not. Just in case, they prepared warm clothes and food for the journey. At that time Dr Lorska was seriously ill: she had erysipelas of the face and was unable to walk. Other inmates had to practically drag her. Lorska begged them to let her be, claiming she was past recovery. Then the women travelled in open flatcars, while the temperature was 8 degrees Centigrade22 below zero. Dr Brewda administered Prontosil23 injections, while other inmates tried to warm Lorska up with their body heat and protect her face from the freezing cold air. When the transport arrived in Ravensbrück, again with all her might and earnestness, Lorska demanded to be left to her own fate. Yet, she was forcibly laid upon a stretcher and carried to the camp. Throughout the journey, Lorska had been inseparable from her sixteen comrades. From Ravensbrück, all of them were evacuated to Neustadt-Glewe, which was liberated by British forces on 2 May 1945, but was incorporated in the Soviet occupation zone. Lorska had been working in the prisoners’ hospital and after liberation promptly established contact with the Soviet commander for the area. Thanks to her efforts, the hospital was moved from the camp to the city. As she was in contact with the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, the comrades sent a bus over from Prague to transport sick survivors, Czechs, Slovaks, and some French women. The two Polish doctors and sixty Polish patients were to stay behind without such help. Dr Lorska proved her resourcefulness again: she escorted the first group of patients to Prague and returned after ten days on board a large bus, with a Czech driver. The remaining patients and staff could all move to Prague, where Lorska stayed. Shortly afterwards the Czechoslovak authorities sent her to France as a physician on a repatriation mission. Her task was to find Czech and Slovak children and send them home. In 1947 she returned to Prague, where she was appointed head of a clinic for Českomoravská Kolben-Daněk, an engineering company.

In the early 1950s, Dr Lorska and many other veterans of the Spanish Civil War were arrested. She was kept in jail for four years from February 1951 to December 1954 on a groundless charge of espionage.24 Her case was revised in 1956, she was rehabilitated and could return to Poland. She was reunited with her young son when he reached school age. Dr Andrzej Lorski, Dorota’s husband, had been living in Poland since 1950; previously he had worked in Prague as a physician at the Polish embassy. Unsurprisingly, Dr Lorska’s traumatic experiences left her a nervous and physical wreck. She suffered from acute hyperthyroidism and anxiety. She was frightened of anybody and anything, and did not look forward to moving into the apartment where her husband and son lived. Fearing the prospect of becoming a wife and mother again, she decided to stay with a friend for a year. Luckily, on 1 March 1957 she was employed by Prof. Walenty Hartwig, head of the Internal Ward of the Institute of Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases on ul. Płocka in Warsaw. Thanks to the invaluable support of the entire staff, her self-confidence was restored and she gradually recovered. In March 1960 she qualified as a specialist of internal medicine. In 1961 she was employed as an assistant in the same ward and promoted to senior assistant in 1963.

In the spring of 1964, Dr Lorska went to London to testify as a witness during the trial of Dr Władysław Dering,25 who was accused of operating on women prisoners in Block 10. She answered in an accurate, decisive, and apt manner, impressing the listeners. The hearing was one more occasion when she demonstrated her resoluteness. When the judge asked, “What would you have done if you were ordered by an SS doctor to remove the ovaries of a woman prisoner?” she retorted, “I supposed I would have committed suicide.” “And what if you didn’t?” She replied that she would have been killed because she was Jewish. At the trial she met her friend Dr Adélaïde Hautval, who also testified, and later said that the Dering trial was when she discovered Lorska’s freedom of spirit, which allowed her to treat other people in an unbiased way and to appreciate their opinions and attitudes. Dr Lorska was a modest person and though she was a Communist herself, she had empathy for those who thought otherwise and was able to pass unbiased judgement on Dr Dering’s work in Auschwitz, to assess it objectively. Despite her own traumas, health problems, and long career breaks, Dr Lorska did not give up medical research. Her work contributed a great deal to the development of medicine, especially nephrology. She published papers in Polish and other languages. Some of her work was on her camp experiences and readers of Przegląd Lekarski — Oświęcim are familiar with them.

As Dr Lorska’s last illness progressed all too quickly and ultimately caused her premature death, she never completed her almost finished doctoral dissertation on the medical and ethical problems involved in the experiments carried out in Block 10.

During her final days, though she was intermittently losing consciousness, Dr Lorska often reminisced about her difficult experiences. She would switch into Czech when talking about the most tragic episodes, especially her imprisonment.

She was a brave woman, a dedicated doctor, and an outstanding humanist, always consistent in her political views and ethical principles. Dr Lorska was never interested in honours, awards, or sinecures. On the contrary, she never shunned even the worst situations or hesitated to tackle the hardest problems. At the same time, she avoided the limelight, because her accomplishments grew out of her sense of duty. The decorations which she received, that is the French Croix de guerre and three Polish distinctions, the Medal For Our and Your Freedom,26 the Virtuti Militari Order27 for military valour, and the Knight’s Cross of Polonia Restituta,28 could never do justice to all her achievements and her selflessness.


This biographical paper is based on Dorota Lorska’s own biography, information provided by her husband Dr Andrzej Lorski, press materials (e.g. an article by Dr Adélaïde Hautval), photocopies of illicit prisoners’ letters, my own recollections, the funeral speech delivered by Dr Bromberg of the Institute of Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases in Warsaw, as well as accounts submitted by Dr Alina Brewda, Dr Rosa Coutelle, Dr Alice Glaznerová, Rudi Göbel, Karl Lill, Marta Malik, Colonel Helena Petranková, and Helena Zavodska. I owe my deepest gratitude to all of them for sending me their recollections, which I value for their precision and attention to detail.

Articles authored and co-authored by Dr Dorota Lorska29

  1. Bromberg S., Lorska D., Radwan L., Lustig S., “Wskaźniki czynności nerek w przewlekłej niewydolności oddychania i ich zmiany pod wpływem tlenu.” Polskie Archiwum Medycyny Wewnętrznej. 1962, 4 p. 297 (paper delivered at the Congress of Polish Internists in September 1961)
  2. Lorska D., “Przypadek pancytopenii w gruźlicy węzłów chłonnych zaotrzewnych.” Gruźlica. 1963, 1, p. 75.
  3. Bromberg S., Lorska D., Pichula K., Kwiek S., Stolarska A., “Catalase urinaire dans les maladies renales.” La Presse Méd. 1964. (paper delivered at the International Congress of Nephrologists in Prague)
  4. Bromberg S., Lorska D., Pichula K., Kwiek S., Stolarska S., “Metoda ilościowego oznaczania aktywności katalazowej w moczu.” Polskie Archiwum Medycyny Wewnętrznej. 1963, XII, p. 1369.
  1. Bromberg S., Lorska D., “Kliniczna ocena testu katalazowego moczu w chorobach nerek i dróg moczowych.” Polskie Archiwum Medycyny Wewnętrznej. 1964, 7, p. 833.30
  1. Bromberg S., Lorska D., Radwan L., “Wpływ diamoksu na wydalanie jonów wodorowych w moczu chorych z jedną nerką.” Polskie Archiwum Medycyny Wewnętrznej. 1964, 7, p. 841.
  1. Jochweds B., Lorska D., Araszkiewicz Z., Müller J., Stolarska A., “Bakteryjne zapalenie wsierdzia, którego jedynym objawem jest dodatni posiew krwi.” Kardiologia Polska. 1964, special issue, 405. (paper delivered at the Congress of Cardiologists in December 1963)
  2. Bromberg S., Lorska D., Wolańska A., “Wpływ przewlekłego leczenia prednisonem na wskaźniki gospodarki lipidowej.” Polskie Archiwum Medycyny Wewnętrznej 1965, 3, p. 299.
  1. Bromberg S., Lorska D., “Dynamika aktywności katalazowej w moczu w chorobach nerek.” Polskie Archiwum Medycyny Wewnętrznej 1965.
  1. Jochweds B., Araszkiewicz Z., Lorska D., Müller J., Stolarska H., “Diagnostic de la maladie d’Osler par la seule positivité de l’hémoculture.” La Presse Méd. 1964.
  2. Bromberg S., Lorska D., “Catalase urinaire.” Exp. Med. Scand., Intern. Congr. Nephrology. 1963, 67, p. 19.
  1. Lorska D., “Blok X w Oświęcimiu.” Przegląd Lekarski – Oświęcim. 1965, 1, p. 99.
  1. Lorska D., “Wspomnienia z bloku nr 10. Dr Hans Münch.” Przegląd Lekarski – Oświęcim. 1966, 1, p. 105.
  1. Lorska D., “Z pobytu w Oświęcimiu.” Przegląd Lekarski – Oświęcim. 1967, 1, p. 206.


Translated from original article: S. Kłodziński, Dr Dorota Lorska. Przegląd Lekarski – Oświęcim, 1967.

  1. Dorota married Vilem Klein, a citizen of Czechoslovakia.a
  2. An affectionate diminutive: “my dear Dorota.”b
  3. In Polish and Czech Dobra means “good woman”, or may be short for Dobroslava.a
  4. Ernst Burger (1915–1944), Austrian Communist, member of the resistance movement in Auschwitz. Executed in the camp after an abortive attempt to escape. Manfred Mugraeur, “Ernst Burger (1915–1944). Funktionär des Kommunistischen Jugendverbandes und führendes Mitglied der Kampfgruppe Auschwitz.” Dokumentationsarchiv des österreichischen Widerstandes. Jahrbuch 2015. Wien: Feindbilder. 2015, pp. 191–228.b
  5. Carl Clauberg (1898–1957), German war criminal. Gynaecologist and professor of medicine at Königsberg University. Conducted criminal sterilisation experiments on women prisoners in Auschwitz. Maria Ciesielska, “Experimental Block No. 10 in Auschwitz,” Medical Review Auschwitz: Medicine Behind the Barbed Wire Conference Proceedings 2018, Kraków: Medycyna Praktyczna, Polski Instytut Evidence-Based Medicine, 2019, pp. 59–75. Online at https://www.academia.edu/43963381/Medical_Review_Auschwitz_Medicine_Behind_the_Barbed_Wire_Conference_Proceedings_2018.b
  6. Hans Münch (1911–2001), German physician and bacteriologist, member of the SS staff of Auschwitz working at the Hygiene-Institut der Waffen-SS at Raisko, about 4 km away from the main camp of Auschwitz. Unlike his colleagues, Münch refused to participate in criminal experiments, and was the only accused to be acquitted in a trial of Auschwitz staff members before the Polish Supreme National Tribunal. See testimony of several witnesses in Chronicles of Terror, online at www.zapisyterroru.pl.b
  7. Full German name: Hygiene Institut der Waffen SS Raisko.b
  8. See comment 5 above, for Maria Ciesielska “Experimental Block No. 10 in Auschwitz.”b
  9. Eduard Wirths (1909–1945), SS-Sturmbannführer, chief physician of the Auschwitz SS garrison. For details of his activities in Block 10, see Maria Ciesielska, “Experimental Block No. 10 in Auschwitz.” Apprehended by the British after the war, he committed suicide in prison.b
  10. Maximilian Samuel (1880–1943), Jewish prisoner doctor; worked for Schumann on the sterilisation project, but witnesses said he tried to save the victims’ lives and fertility. See Sari J. Siegel, “Treating an Auschwitz Prisoner-Physician: The Case of Dr. Maximilian Samuel,” Holocaust and Genocide Studies. 28(3), pp. 450–481. Online https://www.researchgate.net/publication/283596736_Treating_an_Auschwitz_PrisonerPhysician_The_Case_of_Dr_Maximilian_Samuel.b
  11. Horst Schumann (1906–1983), German physician holding a doctorate in medicine; member of the Nazi Party, lieutenant in the Luftwaffe, member of the SS in the rank of Sturmbannführer; head of the euthanasia centres at Grafeneck (Württemberg, Germany) and Sonnenstein near Dresden (Germany). For his sterilisation experiments in Block 10, see Maria Ciesielska, “Experimental Block No. 10 in Auschwitz.”b
  12. Presumably surgery performed in secret to save human guinea pigs in danger of losing their lives following criminal experiments conducted on them.a
  13. “The Bunker”—another name for the Death Block (No. 11). In late July 1944 a death sentence was passed on Dr Brewda and she was put in Block 11 pending execution, but for reasons unknown was sent to Birkenau. See Maria Ciesielska, Szpital obozowy dla kobiet w KL Auschitz-Birkenau (1942-1945), Warszawa: Biblioteka Muzeum Historii Medycyny WUM, Vol. 1, 2015, p. 93, online at http://polska1926.pl/files/2691/files/szpital-obozowy-dla-kobiet-w-kl-auschwitz-birkenau-1942-1945.pdf.b
  14. Ludwig Wörl (1906–1967), German male nurse and political prisoner of several Nazi German concentration camps; in Auschwitz he was Lagerälteste (camp elder) of the hospital barracks and protected numerous prisoners against SS violence. Awarded the Yad Vashem title of Righteous Among the Nations. See https://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/exhibitions/righteous-auschwitz/woerl.asp.a
  15. Hermann Langbein (1912-1995), Auschwitz survivor, member of the Austrian resistance movement and author of several books on Auschwitz, including Menschen in Auschwitz (1972; English edition, People in Auschwitz, 2003). Awarded the Yad Vashem title of Righteous Among the Nations. Source: https://www.yadvashem.org.b
  16. Karl Lill (1908–1977), political prisoner and survivor of several Nazi German concentration camps including Auschwitz (No. 60356), where he worked as the secretary of the SS hospital. After the War he lived in East Germany and was a witness in the Frankfurt trial of the SS staff of Auschwitz. http://www.auschwitz-prozess-frankfurt.de/index.php?id=81.b
  17. Józef Cyrankiewicz (1911–1989), Auschwitz survivor and member of the left-wing resistance movement in the camp. Neither Cyrankiewicz nor the following two inmates were “rank-and-file” prisoners. After the War Cyrankiewicz was a member of the PZPR, the Polish United Workers’ Party (viz. the Communist Party) ruling People’s Poland, and the country’s prime minister from 1954 to 1970.b
  18. Tadeusz Hołuj (1916-1985), Auschwitz survivor and well-known Polish poet and novelist with Communist political views.b
  19. After the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, the Polish government left the country and operated in exile, first in France, and after the German invasion of France, in London. It established contact and worked in close co-operation with the Polish resistance movement in occupied Poland through a network of secret representatives called delegates. Members of the resistance movement in Auschwitz, primarily Witold Pilecki, collected information on the crimes being perpetrated in the German concentration camps and sent the first reports on the Holocaust out to the Allied countries through the Polish government’s network, but they were not believed (or not listened to).b
  20. Auschwitz I, the main camp.b
  21. Auschwitz was liberated by Soviet troops on 27 January 1945.b
  22. 17.5oF.b
  23. Prontosil—a sulphonamide drug for the treatment of bacterial infections.b
  24. During the Stalinist era the government of Czechoslovakia launched a series of show trials against veterans of the Spanish Civil War fighting in the International Brigades, who were suspected of Trotskyist sympathies. See the biography of Dorota Lorska by Piotr Ciszewski, Dąbrowszczacy. Na świecie szanowani, w Polsce poniżani, Warszawa: Fundacja Oratio Recta, 2019. Cf. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HxZ04cetF8.b
  25. Dr Władysław Dering (1903–1965), Auschwitz prisoner doctor and survivor, on orders of the camp’s authorities castrated male prisoners and sterilised women prisoners. For more details, see Maria Ciesielska, “„Operacje eksperymentalne były przyczyną mojego smutku i wstrętu…” Losy Władysława Deringa w świetle zachowanych dokumentów.” Ciemności kryją ziemię. Wybrane aspekty badań i nauczania o Holokauście. Martyna Grądzka-Rejak and Piotr Trojański (eds.), Dęblin: Lotnicza Akademia Wojskowa, 2019, p. 189-212, and Maria Ciesielska, “Władysław Dering i Jan Grabczyński – lekarze więźniowie w Auschwitz,” Nowa Medycyna 2019 (26: 2), p. 70-76.c
  26. Medal za Wolność Waszą i Naszą.b
  27. Order Virtuti Militari (presumably Fifth Class, for individual bravery).b
  28. Krzyż Komandorski Orderu Odrodzenia Polski.b
  29. Some of these items are available on researchgate.net.a
  30. See https://www.researchgate.net/publication/9387688_CLINICAL_EVALUATION_OF_THE_URINARY_CATALASE_TEST_IN_RENAL_AND_URINARY_TRACT_DISEASES/citation/download.a

a—notes by Marta Kapera, the translator of the article; b—notes by Teresa Bałuk-Ulewiczowa, Head Translator for the Medical Review Auschwitz project; c—note by Maria Ciesielska, Expert Consultant on the history of medicine for the Medical Review Auschwitz project.


A publication funded in 2020–2021 within the DIALOG Program of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education in Poland.

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