Sendler Irena

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Saved by Irena Sendler

During German occupation Irena Sendler, with other members of the „Żegota” organization, saved a lot of Jewish children.

 

Among them were:

 

Teresa Körner

She was born on February 14th, 1929, in Cegłów, as Chaja Estera Sztajn. At the age of about 12 she came to Warsaw with her mother, after her father and sister had been murdered. After the death of her mother, who had been denounced, the girl was taken taken care of by Julian Grobelny, a friend of the family. She could not stay with him for long for reasons of safety, so the leader of “Żegota” brought her to Irena Sendler. The latter got for her a fake birth certificate under the name of Teresa Tucholska and placed her with Stanisław Papuziński and his family. After the war Irena took her in and treated her as her own daughter. Teresa attended high school and then dentistry college. In 1956 she graduated from the dentistry department of the Warsaw Medical Academy. Soon after that she left for Israel, where she started up a family. She and Irena Sendler met during Irena’s visit to Israel.

 

Elżbieta Ficowska

She was born in 1942, in the Warsaw ghetto. She was six months old when her Jewish mother – Henia Koppel née Rochman – entrusted her in the care of Irena Sendler. She also passed on to Irena a small silver spoon with the child’s name and date of birth engraved on it. The spoon is the only memento of her parents that Bieta has got. “It is my dowry and my birth certificate” – she says. Irena smuggled the baby to the “aryan” side in a wooden box. She found her a home with Stanisława Bussold – a midwife from the Emergency Shelter. Stanisława was meant to temporary take care of the girl, but she decided to adopt her. At present Elżbieta Ficowska is president of the “Children of the Holocaust” association. She continues to search for information about her biological parents.

 

Michał Głowiński

He left the ghetto in January 1943, together with his parents. For a while he had been hiding at the “aryan” side, until the family’s friend – Irena Sendler – put him in the orphanage run by the nuns of the Servants of Blessed Virgin Mary Congregation in Turkowice. He stayed there until the liberation. Irena Sendler also helped his mother – she found her a job as a domestic servant in Otwock near Warsaw. Michał Głowiński described his war-time experience in a book “Black Seasons”.

 

Irena Wojdowska

Ten-year-old Irena and her brother, Bogdan, were brought from the Warsaw ghetto to the appartment of Jadwiga Bilwin and Jadwiga Koszutska – acting as liaisons for Irena Sendler. It was one of the places used by the “Żegota” organization as temporary shelter for many Jews. After it had been discovered by informers and “blue” police, the girl was – for safety reasons – separated from her brother and sent for a fortnight to a summer camp for orphans. When she returned to Warsaw, in 1943, Irena Sendler found her another Żegota shelter in the Praga district. In 1944 little Irenka came back to the two liaisons’ appartment where she stayed till the end of war. In 1945 Irena Sendler took her in and treated her as if her own daughter. Irena Wojdowska tried then to find her family, but to no avail. After graduating from high school in 1952, she left for Szczecin. Her brother Bogdan described his occupation time experience in a well-known novel “Bread Thrown to the Dead”.

 

Piotr (Zysman) Zettinger

Before the war, Piotr’s father, attorney Józef Zysman, co-operated with Irena Sendler in the Welfare Committee. When 4-year-old Piotr escaped from the ghetto via sewers, Irena took him to her place, but for safety reasons he could not stay there for long. He had to change his hideaways several times. Finally, Irena Sendler put him into a monastery orphanage in Międzylesie near Warsaw. That is where his mother found him after the war. In 1968 he was forced to leave Poland and went to Sweden. He described his memories in a collection of short stories titled “Not from Here”.

 

Katarzyna Meloch

She was born in 1932, in an assimilated Jewish family. Her father, Maksymilian, was probably killed at the beginning of the German-Soviet war. Her mother, Wanda, every day reminded her daughter the address of her uncle, Jacek Goldman, in the Warsaw ghetto. She seemed to sense that she would be killed, as it in fact happened in Białystok when Katarzyna was barely 9. The girl was put in the Jewish orphanage in the Białystok ghetto. She sent a message to her uncle. He managed to arrange for her to be smuggled to the ghetto in Warsaw. During the exterminating operations in 1942 she managed – with the help of her family and friends – to escape into the “aryan” side. Irena Sendler and her liaisons got her a fake birth certificate under the name of Irena Dąbrowska and put her in the Baudouin Orphanage in Warsaw. Then she was moved to the orpanage run by nuns in Turkowice. There she stayed till the end of war. She is an active member of an association “Children of the Holocaust” and a co-author of the book “Children of the Holocaust Speak...”

Based on the Book by Anna Mieszkowska Dzieci Ireny Sendlerowej (Irena Sendler’s Children), Warsaw 2009

 

Other Stories of Rescue in the Area

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Bibliography

  • Śliwowska Wiktoria, Gutenbaum Jakub, Latała Agnieszka, Meloch Katarzyna, Szostkiewicz Halina oprac., Dzieci Holocaustu mówią…, Warszawa 2001
    The collection of reports created by children, who survived the Holocaust, often by being hidden by the Poles; reports collected many years after war.