Mańkowscy Family

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Help From an Advertisement - the Story of the Mańkowski Family

During the years of German occupation, Bronisław and Janina Mańkowski, together with their sons, Andrzej, Jerzy and Zbigniew, lived in Warsaw. In the years 1943–1944, in their home, they hid a Jewish woman from Lwów, Regina Fern, and, from 1943, they also gave shelter to Irena Fejgin. Years later, they were honoured with the title of Righteous Among the Nations. From 1991 to 2008,  Zbigniew Mańkowski served as Secretery of the Polish Association of the Righteous.


"My mother was sick, the house was large and so we needed to advertise for help. [...] And finally Ziuta came. She was a young girl, nice and well-read. [...] My mother even asked us if it was okay with us. Yes, absolutely, and so Ziuta stayed”, recalled Zbigniew Mańkowski in an interview given to the POLIN Museum.

Helping Jewish Women During the Holocaust

In June 1941, following pogroms on Lwów Jews carried out by Ukrainians and Germans, eighteen-year-old Regina Fern decided to leave the family home. Using "Aryan papers" under the name of "Józefa Malec”, she reached German-occupied Warsaw, where she became housekeeper in the home of Bronisław and Janina Mańkowski, at ul. Gimnastycznej 5 in Mokotów.

Soon after, it turned out that the girl, know by the family as "Ziuta", is a Jew:

"One day, Ziuta asks my mother, 'Are you satisfied with my work?'. 'Yes, you're careful, clean and you cook well. Everything is fine.' 'But, you don't know one thing - that I am Jewish. Will I still be able to stay with you under these circumstances?'”.

During that conversation, which Regina asked to take place outside the home, in Ujazdowski Park, Janina Mańkowska replied: 

"'I hugged Ziuta, on this bench, kissed her and said, 'You're staying. You will be my daughter and a sister to my three sons'. That is what my mother said. She had decided. They ask me, 'And how would you react today?'. I don't know, I have no idea! Maybe I'd say, 'It's too risky, I have children'. I don't know how I would react, but I know how I reacted back then",said Zbigniew Mańkowski.

Regina Fern lived in the Mańkowski home from the spring of 1942 until the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising in August 1944. Folowwing the fall of the Uprising, during which she served as a messenger, she became a prisoner of the Germans.

In the years 1943–1944, over severalmonthsm Irena Fejgin was also in hiding with the Mańskowski family. She also helped out running the household.

The Post-War Fate of the Rescuers and the Rescued

After the War, Regina Fern settled in Belgium and Irena Fejgin in Łódż. The survivors from the Holocaust maintained close, cordial contact with the Mańkowski family.

On 3rd November 1986, the Yad Vashem Institute in Jerusalem honoured Bronisław and Janina Mańkowski, as well as their sons, Andrzej, Jerzy and Zbigniew, with the title of Righteous Among the Nations. From 1991 to 2008, Zbigniew Mańkowski served as Secretary of  the Polish Association of the Righteous. In 1992, he was made an Honorary Citizen of the State of Israel.

Other Stories of Rescue in the Area

Bibliography

  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego w Warszawie, Dział Dokumentacji Odznaczeń Yad Vashem; Dokumenty Bronisława i Janiny Mańkowskich oraz ich synów Andrzeja, Jerzego i Zbigniewa, 349/24/516
  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009
  • Pothuizen Charlotte, Interview with Zbigniew Mańkowski, 17.08.2010