WARSAW — The oldest known survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp — a teacher who gave lessons in defiance of his native Poland’s Nazi occupiers — has died at age 108, an official said Monday. Antoni Dobrowolski died Sunday in the Polish town of Debno, according to a spokesman at the Auschwitz-Birkenau state museum.
After invading Poland in 1939, sparking World War II, the Germans banned anything beyond four years of elementary education in a bid to crush Polish culture and the country’s intelligentsia. The Germans considered the Poles inferior beings, and the education policy was part of a plan to use Poles as a ‘‘slave race.’’
An underground effort by Poles to continue to teach children immediately emerged, and those caught were punished by being sent to concentration camps or prisons. Mr. Dobrowolski was among the Poles engaged in the underground effort, and he was arrested by the Gestapo and sent to Auschwitz in June 1942.
‘‘Auschwitz was worse than Dante’s hell,’’ he recalled in a video made when he was 103.
At least 1.1 million people were killed by the Germans at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp. Most of the victims were Jews, but many non-Jewish Poles, Roma, and others were also killed there.