Ryszard Piegat 1912 - 1945

14.3.1912 Marki
15.3.1945 Melk

Ryszard Piegat was the son of Helena Piegat, née Leszczyński, and Julian Piegat, a baker by trade. He was the eldest of four brothers. Our only knowledge of his life before the war was that he worked as a milliner and at the time of the Warsaw Uprising in 1944 was living with his parents and brothers in a tenement building at 5 Przyrynek Street in the Old Town. There are only two surviving photographs from the 1930s in which he appears with his parents and brothers. However, nothing is known of any potential involvement by Ryszard in the underground movement or the Uprising – his younger brother Edward had been a soldier in the Armija Krajowa (Home Army) since 1943 and took part in the Warsaw Uprising in 1944. Ryszard was arrested during the Uprising on 28 August 1944 in the Old Town along with his two brothers Edward (born 1920) and Wiesław (born 1921). All three were deported to concentration camps; Ryszard and Edward to Mauthausen. Previously we did not know to which camp Wiesław had been deported, and for decades there was no trace of him. It was only 65 years later that we learned he had been deported after two weeks to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp and then, on 24 March 1945, to a subcamp of the Flossenbürg concentration camp in Dresden (Reich Railway Repair Work and Reich Railway) – on 28 April 1945 all trace of him disappears in the Leitmeritz subcamp...

We did at least know to which camp Ryszard had been taken and when he had died: on 5 September 1944 he arrived at the Mauthausen concentration camp and went from there to the Melk subcamp (codename ‘Quarz’), where he died on 15 March 1945, one day after his 33rd birthday. His other brother Edward survived the Gusen II concentration camp.

The Piegat family from the Old Town was a loving family. Throughout his life, Edward, who died in 1979, never tried to obtain compensation from Germany, which would have been particularly high in his case, since he was twice given injections in Gusen II that many other prisoners died from. When asked why he did not seek compensation, he used to answer that he would never take any money for his brothers who died in the camps...

 

Rafał Piegat

Translation into English: Joanna White