Antoni Dobrowolski, until now the oldest survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp, passed away at age 108 on Sunday.
Dobrowolski, a Polish Christian and a teacher, was sent to the camp for continuing to teach his students beyond the four years he was supposed to, in accordance with the occupying power's orders.
Dobrowolski, who was born Oct. 8, 1904 in Wolborz, Poland, died Sunday in the northwestern Polish town of Dębno, according to Jaroslaw Mensfelt, a spokesman at the Auschwitz-Birkenau state museum.
After Germany invaded Poland in 1939, the Nazis attempted to destroy the Polish culture by persecuting the country's elite, in line with their doctrine of the Polish people's inferiority.
Dobrowolski, who was active in the Polish underground and tried to maintain his students' studies despite the harsh Nazi edicts, was arrested by the Gestapo in 1942.
"Auschwitz was worse than Dante’s hell," he recalled in a video made when he was 103 in 2007.
From Auschwitz, Dobrowolski was sent to the Gross-Rosen and Sachsenhausen concentration camps, and after the war made his way to the Polish town of Dębno, where he took up his teaching of the Polish language once again.
Later in his life, Dobrowolski was appointed principal of an elementary school and a high school in Dębno.