April 17, 2009
Countess Karolina Lanckoronska
Of World War Two
Countess Lanckoronska was born on August 11, 1898 in Gars am Kamp.
She died in lower Austria on August 25, 2002. She was the daughter of Count Karol Lanckoronski, a Polish nobleman from Galician family. After the independence of Poland in 1918, she went to the University of Lwów to teach. In 1926, Countess Lanckoronska defended her thesis on Michelangelo's Last Judgment at Vienna University. Although she had several offers of marriage, she stuck to her work and moved to Lvov University, in eastern Poland, where she lectured on art.
On the outbreak of war, Countess Lanckoronska escaped being shot - unlike most of her fellow professors. But she had the unpleasant experience of being billeted with Bolshevik soldiers who were convinced that she must have gold, and who had never seen a lavatory; one stuck his head in the bowl.
Then after the invasion of Lwów by the Red Army and the rest of Poland by the Nazis in 1939. The Countess witnessed first hand the terror and atrocities committed by the Soviets and by the Nazis.
She was arrested, since she was active in the polish resistance. She was also interrogated, tortured, tried, and sentenced to death at
Stanisławów prison. When she was in prison she met the local Gestapo chief, Hans Krüger, and he confessed that he had murdered 23 University of Lwów professors, a war crime she made it her mission to publicize. She was sent to notorious Ravensbruck concentration came for women; because she had family
connections she wasn’t executed.
The Countess survived somehow and immediately after she was released in
1945, she wrote her war memoirs. Then she left and went to Poland after the war ended. She lived in Fribourg, Switzerland for a little
while. Later she lived in Rome until her death in 2002 at age 104. She
published a book about her memories a year before she died....