Ignacy Ledóchowski was 73 years old when he was sent from the Gross-Rosen concentration camp to Mittelbau-Dora on a clearance transport in February 1945. After months of hardship, it would be his last journey. He did not survive his time at the camp outside Nordhausen.
Born to a family of Polish-Austrian aristocrats in 1871, Ledóchowski had begun pursuing a military career early on. During the German occupation of Poland, the retired lieutenant-general joined the resistance despite his advanced age. The Gestapo arrested him in July 1944.
On 25 February 1945, he wrote a postcard to his nephew Karl from the camp. Until the end, he took sustenance from thoughts of his family and his firm Christian beliefs: “With the utmost trust in God, I have you all close to my heart.” Ignacy Ledóchowski died a few days later.
Postcard from Ignacy Ledóchowski, 4 February 1945 (Stanisław Swiatek collection).
Jens-Christian Wagner (ed.), Mittelbau-Dora Concentration Camp 1943–1945: Companion Volume to the Permanent Exhibition at the Mittelbau-Dora Concentration Camp Memorial, Göttingen 2011.
Joachim Neander, “Der ‘Heilige General’ – Ignacy Ledóchowski (1871–1945)”, Polen und wir: Zeitschrift für deutsch-polnische Verständigung, 3/2004, pp. 21–22 (part I), 4/2004, pp. 15–17 (part II).