Andy Rawicz: Remembering his ride to Auschwitz

York man remembers time in Poland during WWII, seeing the horrors of war up close. Still, he feels lucky.

Presented by: Our York Media

It was drizzling all the time. For three days, the rain came in through the open top of the cattle car. It was cold, wet, and dark.

That’s what Andy Rawicz remembers most about the time he spent packed in a train full of people on their way to the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944.

He was 10.


Warsaw was on fire.

There were snipers on rooftops and bombs falling from the sky.

But every morning, Andy and his cousin would pick up The Information Bulletin, the newspaper of the Warsaw Uprising, and deliver it to troops in the barricades.

It was filled with information about the resistance, news of the war, and people looking for lost loved ones.

I guess luck plays a part in everything we do, and I’ve been lucky most of my life.

Andy Rawicz

For 33 days, he saw the horrors of war as he delivered the paper on the street, “right under the bombs and the fire,” he says.

The first time his house was bombed, Andy’s grandfather and aunt died. He survived, protected by his grandfather’s bakery ovens.

He was bombed three more times in three different homes. Still, he survived.

After the uprising, Andy was put in a processing camp, then was packed into a train car headed to Auschwitz and an almost certain death.

After three days, members of the underground pulled open the doors to the train car.

Andy escaped.


Now, Andy lives in York. He raised his family here. He’s happy here.

He doesn’t know if there’s any great moral to his story. The key was survival. He made it through, when so many did not.

Despite living through horrors most people can only imagine, he says he’s lucky.

“I guess luck plays a part in everything we do, and I’ve been lucky most of my life,” Andy says. “Even when I was unlucky, I was lucky.”

Get Neighbors of Our York in your inbox: Every Thursday at 9 a.m., we’ll email you a full version of the latest “Neighbors of Our York” profile. You subscribing lets us know you like and value what we’re doing.