Adamowicz Irena

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Story of Rescue - Adamowicz Irena

Irena was a Polish Catholic of aristocratic background. She was also a girl scout. In the interwar period, she was one of the few who established contact with the Jewish scouting, mainly with representatives of the Zionist movement Hashomer Hatzair. She soon gained the trust of its activists. In July 1931 she even managed to get to the El Al kibbutz in Kostopol in the Volhynia region.

Irena was working as inspector of children’s homes and continued this profession during the Second World War. This enabled her to visit the Warsaw Ghetto and travel around occupied Poland. Among her acquaintances were: Cywia Lubetkin, Izaak Cukierman, Josef Kapłan, Arie Wilner, Mordechaj Anielewicz.

Risking her life, Irena became a courier between ghettos, mainly disguised as a German nun. She also gave shelter to her Jewish friends in her apartment. She helped transport groups of activists escaping to Palestine across the Lithuanian border. Thanks to her efforts emissaries from ghettos got in touch with the Home Army. In 1942 she undertook two extremely important missions. She went to the Vilnius Ghetto to inform the local Zionists about the extermination of Jews in the General Government. She met there, among others, Abba Kovner, who later became a famous Israeli poet, and Abraham Suckewer, a poet writing in Yiddish. Afterwards, she managed to sneak into the ghettos in Kaunas, Šiauliaiand Białystok, where she contacted the Zionist Chaja Grossman. It is thanks to her efforts that Irena was posthumously honored with the title of the Righteous Among the Nations.

After the war, Irena worked in turn in the Polish Repatriation Office in Frankfurt as a translator, as inspector of children’s homes and then as employee of the National Library in Warsaw. In 1958 she left for three months to the Mannit kibbutz. After her return, the SB (Służba Bezpieczeństwa – internal intelligence agency and secret police in the Polish People’s Republic) forbade her any contacts with her friends in Israel. In a vain attempt, Władysław Bartoszewski urged her to emigrate. Irena remained in Poland for the rest of her life.

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Bibliography

  • Cain Larissa, Irena Adamowicz. Une Juste des Nations en Pologne, Paris 2009
  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009
  • Grynberg Michał, Księga Sprawiedliwych, Warszawa 1993

    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.

  • Bartoszewski Władysław, Lewinówna Zofia, Ten jest z ojczyzny mojej, Warszawa 2007
    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.