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Auschwitz death camp survivor Jadwiga Bogucka-Regulska holds a photo of herself from 1944. She was 89 when she posed for this photo in 2015 for a Reuters feature on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi camp. She joined the Methodist Church just after World War II.

Photo: REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

Auschwitz death camp survivor Jadwiga Bogucka-Regulska holds a photo of herself from 1944. She was 89 when she posed for this photo in 2015 for a Reuters feature on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi camp. She joined the Methodist Church just after World War II.

Auschwitz survivor, United Methodist dead at 92

 

By Kathy L. Gilbert
Jan. 18, 2018 | UMNS

A faithful and committed United Methodist who was one of the last surviving inmates of the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi concentration camp died on Dec. 19, 2017, in Warsaw, Poland. Jadwiga Bogucka-Regulska was 92.

Jadwiga Bogucka-Regulska, 92, died Dec. 19, 2017. She was a member of Good Shepherd United Methodist Church and one of the last survivors of Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi concentration camp. Photo courtesy of The United Methodist Church in Central and Southern Europe.

Jadwiga Bogucka-Regulska, 92, died Dec. 19, 2017. She was a member of Good Shepherd United Methodist Church and one of the last survivors of Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi concentration camp. Photo courtesy of The United Methodist Church in Central and Southern Europe.

Bogucka-Regulska joined the Methodist Church just after World War II. She was a member of Good Shepherd United Methodist Church in Warsaw for decades and served as secretary at the headquarters of The United Methodist Church in Poland from 1959-1983.

The Rev. Andrzej Malicki, superintendent of The United Methodist Church in Poland, and the Rev. Zbigniew Kaminski, led the memorial service for Bogucka-Regulska. The service was attended by many who wanted to say farewell to a woman who even in inconceivable times held fast to God and put her trust in God, the conference reported.

Malicki described her as “an example of pure Christian love.”

“She actively participated in the life of the church to the last and even attended the Days of Renewal of The United Methodist Church in Poland in the summer of 2017,” Malicki told United Methodist News Service. The Days of Renewal is the largest Methodist gathering in Poland and is an annual evangelical event.

“She was always ready to encourage others to follow Christ,” said Malicki. “She was always ready to help others even when she herself needed some help.”

Bogucka-Regulska was born Nov. 20, 1925. On Aug. 12, 1944, she and her mother were arrested and taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau along with about 4,000 other women and children. At the camp, the 18-year-old was given the identification number 86356.

An estimated 1.1 million people were killed in gas chambers or by systematic starvation, forced labor, disease, or medical experiments at the camp. About 200,000 camp inmates survived.

She was liberated by the Red Army on Jan. 27, 1945. In 2005, the United Nations General Assembly designated Jan. 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

“She was always ready and willing to share her life stories,” Malicki said. “She never held anger against the Nazis and she forgave them all of those things they did.”

One of her favorite verses that also expressed her faith is Psalm 62, which was used in her obituary: “Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.”

“Her witness touched and encouraged many people from different generations — far beyond her familiar and congregational surroundings,” Malicki said.

Gilbert is a multimedia reporter for United Methodist News Service. Urs Schweizer, assistant to Bishop Patrick Streiff, Central and Southern Europe, contributed to this report. Contact Gilbert at 615-742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org. To read more United Methodist news, subscribe to the free Daily or Weekly Digests.