The Iwanowski Family

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Story of the Iwanowski family

It happened all of a sudden. She went to Vilno to get some winter clothes. She met her father. He said two ladies needed to be taken from there, from the Altberg house. So she did. Just as the Germans were rounding up the Vilno Jews to be placed in the ghetto.

“I didn’t feel I was in any danger” – she says.

She asked the carter who took her to Vilno if he would take “her mom’s guests”, too – he would, certainly. He knew. “Their eyes are so dark” – he told her.

“We were driving for three days, because the horse could only make some 40 kilometers a day, and Rohaczowszczyzna was 120 km from Vilno. Quite often the carter and I would walk by the cart, with only the two elderly ladies, somewhere around 50, sitting on the cart. The carter was great! His name was Adolf Danilewicz, he was a lessee of ours. When we were halfway, in Ejszyszki, he walked up to me and said: ‘Mistress, them folks are sayin’ them’s makin’ a ghetto in Ejszyszki. What do you want we should do?’ So I said: ‘Dolphy, maybe we should go around through the forest’. And we made it”.

Rohaczowszczyzna was a small village, never visited by people from outside the family. But food was scarce. They bought a cow and a pig, and the lessees were giving them potatoes and grain. And later they would make moonshine for sale. One time the Germans caught her for it.

“The next cell was counting how many times I got clubbed – I have no idea. They’ve pulverized my backside. I only survived because my family bought me out. The Germans didn’t know we were keeping Jews in the house”.

After the war Emma Altberg was the piano and harpsichord professor at the Music Academy in Łódź, and Maria Arnold – a doctor of philosophy and a teacher, worked at the Library of the Institute of General Chemistry in Warsaw.


  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, 349, 2500
  • Pajączkowska Agnieszka, Interview with Anna Kornecka, 31.03.2008