Bartczak Stefania

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Story of Rescue - Bartczak Stefania

Before the war, Stefania Bartczak had been a laborer in a company run in Warszawa by a Jewish married couple Albina and Kazimierz Lewi. During the war the Lewis were made to move out of the apartment on ul. Królewska 29 (29 Królewska Street) and move to the getto. As a result, they lost their business. Stefania Bartczak found a new job in the ghetto, in “Pollabor”, a company that produced medicaments for the Germans. Albina Lewi’s brother-in-law worked there as well, thanks to which the Jews could easily stay in touch with the former worker.

In May 1942, Paweł Gołąbek, a relative of Stefania Bartczak, led Albina Lewi and her eleven-year-old daughter Izabela through the court buildings on ul. Leszno (Leszno Street) to “the Aryan side.” Unfortunately, the family had no more money to arrange for the escape of Kazimierz Lewi, who, in the same year, was deported by the Germans to a death camp.

Other Lewis’ former workers took the Jewesses to separate hiding places. For unknown reasons (probably because of the lack of livelihood, or because of new peril), toward the end of 1942, Albina returned to the ghetto from where, in 1943, she was transported to Majdanek, then to Auschwitz, Ravensbruck and Neustadt. She managed to survive the camps and return to the country in the fall of 1945. She died shortly before the war, in 1948.

Izabela spent about two months with Mrs. Henia (last name unknown), after which time Stefania Bartczak collected her and hidden her with the family of her husband Stefan, on ul. Kacza 21 (21 Kacza Street). She got Izabela a false certificate of baptism on the name Krzewińska. After giving birth to her daughter Elżbieta, Mrs. Bartczak took the two girls and moved to the country, to the village of Michalin, near Warszawa, and in 1944, to the nearby village of Chojnów-Pilawa. Once there, the woman also took care of a few-year-old Jewish boy Józef Rosenbadem, who escaped from the Warsaw ghetto.

“She brought us up, fed, dressed and treated us like her own children, selflessly, because (…) no one ever paid for my upkeep. (…) I believe that Stefania Bartczak was simply a woman of great heart and great courage.” – Izabela Owczarek emphasis in her account which is deposited in the Archives of the Jewish Historical Institute. “There was an additional problem with the Jewish boy who had been circumcised and had to be constantly watched” – she adds.

Izabela lived with Stefania as her niece, Józef as her illegitimate child. They both survived the war. After the liberation, the girl’s uncle found her and put her in an orphanage in Zatrzebie near Falenica, “so that I could start school as soon as possible” – the survivor explains. After eight months, in November 1945, her mother came to take her. They took up residence in Łódź, where Stefania Bartczak, with whom they stayed in touch, moved as well. Izabela never again used her real name. She graduated from the Faculty of Chemistry at the Technical University of Łódź. In 1956 she married Romuald Owczarek. Their daughter Anna was born four years later.

Józef Rosenbadem settled down in Munich.

The house on ul. Kacza 21 (21 Kacza Street) was a hiding place for many people of Jewish origin, not only those rescued by Stefania Bartczak. Her brother-in-law Jan Bartczak and her sister-in-law Zofia Gołąbek with her husband  Paweł Gołąbek rescued Jews as well. In 2001, the three persons were awarded the Righteous among the Nations medals.

Other Stories of Rescue in the Area

Bibliography

  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, 349, 2373
  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009