niedziela, 24 kwietnia 2016


Dr. Stefan Mirau, a scout, a doctor, anactivist of the Polish minority in the Free City Gdańsk

We want to commemorate doctor Stefan Mirau, one of the founders andcreators of the Polish scouting in the Free City Gdańsk. Dr. S.Mirau is without a doubt a person remembered by the representatives of the Polish minority in the Free CityGdańsk as a scout, a doctor, a social worker and a prisoner of KL Stutthof.

Stefan Mirau was born on 2 August 1901 in Różany near Pruszcz in a landowningfamily of Jan and Helena nee Kręcka. As a child, he attended a German primaryschool inKościerzyna andthen to a German public middle school in Gdańsk where in 1927 he founded asecret Filarets Association. He was also a co-founder of a secret scouts squadwhich he trained together with A. Liczmański in the woods in Oliwa. On 8 August1920, Mirau participated in the creation of the first boys’ scouting squad andbecame its first scoutmaster. A few months later he contributed to the creationof a girls’ squad lead by Zofia Cezarówna and became its first caretaker.

 Professional and social activity in the Free City ofGdańsk

After graduating in 1921, Mirau began his medical studies in Munich andfinished them in 1926 at HumboldtUniversity of Berlin. Between 1926 and 1928, he worked in Berlin meanwhilepreparing his doctoral thesis “The techniques of blood transfusion”, which hewrote under the direction of Dr. Alfred Grotjahn, the dean of the Faculty ofMedicine. Then, as an internist-cardiologist, he was the head of the internalward, first in Saint Jadwiga Hospital and then in Saint Joseph Hospital inBerlin, where he specialized in internal medicine, neurology and cardiology. In1932, despite being offered an interesting and well-paid position in Berlin, hereturned to Gdańsk.

In 1933, the Medical Chamber of Gdańskagreed that Mirau could work as a specialist in internal medicine. What ismore, he worked as the director of the Mother and Child Clinic in Polish RedCross. He popularized medical knowledge among the Polish community, treatedPolish railmen, postal workers, scouts and wards of the Polish Red Cross freeof charge. Mirau was also an activist of many Polish organizations in Gdańsk,such as the Polish Community, the People’s Association “Jedność”, the Societyof Friends of Science and Arts, as well as in Macierz Szkolna. He maintainedclose relations with the well-known families of Kręccy, Liczmańscy, Filarscy,Kopczyńscy and Tejkowscy, who promoted Polish culture in Gdańsk.

In 1936, the returned to the Polish scouting in Gdańsk. He was chosen amember of the Board of Directors of the scouting in Gdańsk and was named headof the Medical Department in theHeadquarters of Gdańska Chorągiew Harcerzy.

The war

During the first day of the war, 1September 1939, the Nazi authorities took Dr. Mirau’s license to medicalpractice and then his freedom. The Gestapo in Gdańsk arrested him on 10September 1939 and imprisoned together with other Polish activists in VictoriaSchule and then in a prisoner-of-war camp in the New Port of Gdańsk. Thanks tothe intervention of Professor A. Grotjahn, Mirau’s thesis supervisor, Dr. Wolffrom Siedlice and other German doctors, commandant Max Pauly released Dr. Mirauand issued a document which allowed him to work in Gdańsk. Despite all this, aweek later Mirau was arrested again and imprisoned in the camp in the New Port,where he stayed till February 1940 and took care of his co-prisoners in theinfirmary.

Sentto KL Stutthof

In the Nazi Stutthof camp, Mirau was registered as a political prisonerwith no. 7924 and was sent to work in the camp hospital. In years 1940-1942 herisked his life helping the ill prisoners, who called him the “Angel of Goodness”. He himself wrote ina letter to his mother: “Despite all thenuisance and suffering I am satisfied and happy because I can help the poorestof my companions”.

Mirau died of typhus at 5a.m. on 24April 1942 on the hands of his co-prisoner Dr. Julian Węgrzynowicz. “He was known in the camp as a humanist inthe true sense of the word, with a respectful approach to everyone” – wroteabout Mirau in his momeoirs Dr. Węgrzynowicz, the prisoner no. 9230 of KLStutthof. Mirau was buried on the Gdańsk Zaspa cemetery. After the war, one ofthe streets in Gdańsk-Oliwa was named after him.

Elżbieta Maria Grot

Director of the Research Department of the Stutthof Museum

English translation: Katarzyna Flis 

Dr. Stefan Mirau (on the left), accompanied by Dr. Franciszek Kręcki, who was also murdered in KL Stutthof in the execution of the activists of Polish Minority in Gdańsk on 11.03.1940. This unpublished photo has been provided by the curator, Elżbieta Grot.

Stefan Mirau Street in Gdańsk-Oliwa. Source: Google.

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