Smólski Władysław

enlarge map

Story of Rescue - Smólski Władysław

Władysław Smólski and his family lived in Warsaw during the occupation. He was one of the young writers who had made their debut before 1939. He authored, among other works, a play entitled Błędny bokser [Boxer Errant]. Many of his friends and acquaintances ended up in the ghetto which the Germans created in Warsaw.

He helped them on an ad hoc basis until the summer of 1942 as much as his health and finances would allow him to. He was so shocked by the great liquidation action in the ghetto and the transportation of most of its inhabitants to gas chambers in Treblinka that he devoted most of his time and efforts to saving Jews. He recalled this as follows: “Even my illnesses left me. I wanted with all my heart to do everything I could to save those who managed to avoid death so far”.

He helped individual people at first. One day, a five-year-old girl was left under his care. She had no one else to rely on. In order to make it possible for her to survive, Władysław had to sell his belongings as he had no sources of income at the time. After several months, he placed the child at an orphanage ran by Franciscan Sisters in Płudy near Warsaw. Afterwards, he found a place for the girl in Hotel Polski from where Jews were to be transported to neutral countries. However, he soon became suspicious and was lucky enough to have successfully taken her away from there on time. He also met D. Guzik, one of the directors of the American-Jewish Joint Distribution Committee in Warsaw, by chance.

This chance meeting made it possible for Władysław to extend the scope of his aid. Guzik asked him to work together with him on providing people hiding on the “Aryan side” with money. This way, Smólski became involved with organised structures for helping Jews functioning in Warsaw. He took part in the activity of “Żegota”. He continued such activity along the Pruszków-Podkowa Leśna line also after the Warsaw Uprising.

Thanks to his help, Bronisław Alken, Tadeusz Reinberg, Wanda Hac, and many others, survived the war. He helped others selflessly and he often resorted to his own meagre funds to support others.

The literary activity of Władysław Smólski was also devoted to a considerable extent to the martyrdom of Jewish people. After the war, he wrote books about the Holocaust and operations aimed at helping Jews. Such books included: Losy dziecka [The Fate of a Child] (1961), Zaklęte lata [Spellbound Years] (1964), and Za to groziła śmierć [This was punishable with death] (1981).

The Yad Vashem Institute awarded Władysław Smólski with the Righteous Among the Nations title in 1982.

Other Stories of Rescue in the Area


  • Smólski Władysław, Za to groziła śmierć. Polacy z pomocą Żydom w czasie okupacji
  • Bartoszewski Władysław, Lewinówna Zofia, Ten jest z ojczyzny mojej
    This publication consists of 3 parts: monographic outline of the issue of aid given to the Jews; collection of German and Polish documents concerning the histories of Jews and the aid given to them; collection of the post-war reports created by Poles and Jews about the aid.
  • Prekerowa Teresa, Konspiracyjna Rada Pomocy Żydom w Warszawie 1942-1945
    A monograph concerning the Council to Aid Jews, an organization operating during the war in the Government Delegation for Poland and providing help to Jews, especially those hiding on “the Aryan side”.
  • Grynberg Michał, Księga Sprawiedliwych

    The lexicon includes the stories of Poles honoured with the title of Righteous Among the Nations in the years 1963-1989. The list of entries is preceded by a preface by Icchak Arad and Chaim CheferThe Righteous of the World.

  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu
  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, Dział odznaczeń Yad Vashem. Dokumentacja sprawy Władysława Smólskiego, 349/24/160