Vale Danuta Gałkowa (1924–2018)

Mateusz Szczepaniak / English translation: Andrew Rajcher, 14th December 2018
Colonel Danuta Gałkowa (née Ślązak) has died in Warsaw on 6th December 2018 at the age of ninety-four. Under the pseudonym “Blondynka”, she served in the Home Army (AK) as a messenger and as a nurse in the Warsaw Uprising, She was a Righteous Among the Nations. She was honoured was the Silver Cross of the Virtuti Militari Order, the Warsaw Uprising Cross, the Medal for Warsaw, the Partisan Cross and the Commander's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta. Danuta Gałkowa's funeral took place took place on 13th December at the Powązki Military Cemetery.

To all of us, Stefcia was the youngest child and we treated her like a sister. In fact, I still think of her as my youngest sister. She brought a lot of joy into our lives. Why? Because she was such a cheerful child.

– Danuta Gałkowa speaking about Holocaust survivor Giza Alterwajn.

During World War II, Danuta Gałkowa and her parents, Józef Alojzy Ślązak (1901–1944) and Agnieszka née Starzyńska (1900–1980), took two-year-old Giza Alterwajn into their home at 47 Św. Wincentego Street in the Warsaw suburb of Targówek. The little girl had been carried out of the Warsaw ghetto. In the Ślązak home, she was tended to by a family friend who was a doctor. Thanks to Dantua's activity with the underground, she received false documents under the name of “Stefania Szymkowiak”. She remained with the Ślązak family until 1945, after which she left for Israel with her cousins.

Read Danuta Gałkowa's story »

In recognition of the help provided by her and her parents, on 1st June 2010, she was honoured with the title of “Righteous Among the Nations”. A few months later, on 4th and 5th November, she gave an interview to POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, in which she described the rescue of Giza Alterwajn and also their first meeting in over sixty years, which took place in 2009. A photograph of them hugging at Warsaw's Chopin Airport appears in the gallery above.

Danuta Gałkowa died on 6th December 2018 in Warsaw. She was laid to rest in the Powązki Military Cemetery.