The Jakubowski Family

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Story of Rescue - the Jakubowski Family

The Jakubowski couple lived in Lwów with their son, daughter Helena and her husband. The father was a tram driver, while the  mother looked after the home and the family. In 1939, Helena graduated from a vocational sewing school. After the outbreak of the War, she used her trade to earn a little extra money.   

In September 1942, Maria Wojtyszyn, Helena’s cousin, asked the Jakubowski family to hide nine-year-old Rena Akselrad, a friend’s daughter. Rena’s younger sister, six-year-old Janina, had been taken in by Maria herself. Rena’s father had died soon after the Germans entered Lwów, while her mother, stuck in the ghetto, had managed to arrange a hiding place for her children on the "Aryan side" and had died shortly thereafter.        

Initially, Rena was not kept hidden. She would go to church with the Jakubowski family, introduced as their cousin. When the persecution of Jews escalated, she stopped leaving the house and had to hide in the attic should any visitors came to the house. A neighbour from across the street informed the Germans that there was an "extra" child staying in the Jakubowski home. Luckily, during the inspection, the police did not think to search the attic.

After the Russian army entered the city, Helena’s parents placed Rena in a newly-established orphanage for Jewish children. Several years later, invited by her aunt, Rena left for Israel, where she married, found a job as an accountant, and raised three daughters and a son.

Two years prior to her death, she managed to again meet Helena Depa and her husband, Kazimierz, and invited the couple to visit Israel.

She died in the autumn of 1997.


  • Maria Mancewicz-Jakubowska, Nieopublikowane wspomnienia
  • Andrzejewska Monika, Interview with Helena Depa, 6.04.2009
  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu