Ciecierska Danuta

enlarge map

Story of Rescue - Ciecierska Danuta

Danuta and Lidia met in high school in Warsaw. They both graduated in 1939. After the World War Two broke out, Lidia was forced to live in the ghetto. Danuta visited her there and tried to help her.

After Lidia’s escape, the two women shared apartments on the ‘Aryan’side. Lidia used a false name ‘Aniela Kowalska’. She worked as a waitress. After the war, she had written:

„All that time Danuta was with me and the fact that I was not alone, gave me courage. People were less suspicious about me being Jewish“.

 Lidia’s greatest threat turned out to be her newly-wedded Polish husband, who blackmailed her. She escaped to Mielec. Shortly after she wrote to Danuta, leading for help. In response Danuta immediately came to Mielec, where the two found work as clerks.

In 1944 Lidia was sent to forced labor in Germany. After liberation she emigrated to the United States where she had married an American, Birstein. She worked as a clerk.

Shortly after Lidia’s departure, the Warsaw Uprising broke out and Danuta’s father was killed in the Wola massacre. His daughter often recalls his words:


“When I decided to go to Mielec, to help Lidia, my Dad said something I will always treasure: ‘I respect you for that.’ That was nice.”


However, other relatives thought ill of her, believing her to be putting everyone in danger.


Lidia contacted Danuta in 1950. Despite the distance, their friendship endured until Lidia’s death in 1998.


“I left home to be with her and wherever she was, I was there, too.”

Other Stories of Rescue in the Area

More

Bibliography

  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, 349, 2247
    Danuta Ciecierska's account and Lida Leokadia Birsten's application to grant the title of Righteous Among the Nations
  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009
  • Brodowska Monika, Interview with Danuta Ciecierska, 7.02.2009