Of Note

October 22, 2012
Antoni Dobrowolski
Auschwitz prisoner

Antoni Dobrowolski, 108, the oldest known survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp — a teacher who gave lessons in defiance of his native Poland’s Nazi occupiers, died Oct. 21 in Debno, Poland.

The death was confirmed by Jaroslaw Mensfelt, a spokesman at the Auschwitz-Birkenau state museum. No cause was provided.

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, with 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.


A former inmate of the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland sometime in 1979, gazes down at ruins of gas chambers where hundreds of people were exterminated during World War II. Antoni Dobrowolski, the oldest known survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp and a teacher who gave lessons in defiance of his native Poland's Nazi occupiers, has died at the age of 108. (Horst Faas/Associated Press)

Mr. Dobrowolski, who was born Oct. 8, 1904, in Wolborz, Poland, was later moved to the concentration camps of Gross-Rosen and Sachsenhausen, according to the Auschwitz memorial museum in southern Poland.

After the war, he moved to Debno, where he worked as a Polish-language teacher, principal at an elementary school and later at a high school for many years.

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.

James R. Grover Jr.
Congressman

James R. Grover Jr., a New York Republican who represented Suffolk County on Long Island for six terms, died Oct. 14 at his home in Babylon, N.Y. He was 93.

The cause was congestive heart failure, his family told the New York Times.

Mr. Grover was a lawyer in the Suffolk County community of Babylon and served in the New York state assembly from 1957 until being elected to the U.S. House in 1962. He became the ranking Republican on the House Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee and also was a ranking member of the House Committees on Public Works.

He was unsuccessful in his 1974 reelection bid — a year when the Watergate scandal led to many Republican losses. He resumed his legal practice in Babylon.

James Russell Grover Jr. was a Babylon native and a 1941 graduate of what is now Hofstra University on Long Island. He served in the Army Air Forces in China during World War II and graduated from Columbia Law School in 1949.

Michael A.J. Farrell
business executive

Michael A.J. Farrell, who built Annaly Capital Management into the world’s largest mortgage real estate investment trust, has died after being diagnosed with cancer earlier this year. He was 61.

His death was confirmed in a statement by the New York-based company, which did not provide additional details.

Mr. Farrell, a native of Brooklyn, launched his Wall Street career at E.F. Hutton & Co. in 1971. After stints at Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch, he started Annaly in 1997 and increased assets to about $128.3 billion at the end of June, turning the firm into one of the largest buyers of home loan debt backed by the United States.

He branched out with separate companies that buy non-agency bonds and commercial real estate securities.

He earned $35 million in 2011, making him among the world’s highest-paid financial-services executives.

— From news services

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