International Day of Persons with Disabilities

The day dedicated to people disabled as a result of accidents at work, established by the International Labour Organization, is observed annually on the third Sunday of March.

Today, remembering both war invalids, and World War II prisoners-of-war injured as a result of performing forced labour for the Third Reich, we recall the figure of the British private Arthur Weston.

He got to Stalag VIII B (344) Lamsdorf in October 1940, and began working in the camp shoemaking workshop in Neisse (Nysa). The following year, he was transferred to the camp hospital, where, together with Second Lieutenant Henry Wilson, he began his attempts to make prosthetic limbs for amputated British soldiers. Thus, by combining his frontline experience of caring for wounded comrades, with his craft as a shoemaker, he set up a prosthetics workshop. According to the private's account, during his forced stay in Lamsdorf, he assisted in 180 amputations and made 96 pairs of surgical shoes. He left the camp by rail transport on March 3, 1945, as one of the last, along with prisoners unable to march. Arthur Weston, dealing with the trauma of the memories from captivity through the rest of his life, kept organizing pilgrimages to Łambinowice for his fellow prisoners.

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