The Filipowski Family

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Story of Rescue - The Filipowski Family

During the war, Edward and Józefa Filipowski lived in the Praga district of Warsaw. They ran a grocery store on the ground floor of their tenement house. One day, in spring 1943, a young Jewish woman – Natalia Lauer – came to the store. She asked about a woman who had lived nearby, and who had promised to give Natalia shelter. However, no one opened the door at the given address. Józefa Filipowska, knowing that the woman had left somewhere, offered to take Natalya in.

The girl did not stay with the Filipowskis right away. She lived in the ghetto; and she had to return there. She came to Praga everyday with a work column brought there to work in a factory. She was preparing to leave the ghetto and, a few days later, having hidden a few family souvenirs under her coat, she headed towards Praga.

She was able to move away from the work column when they were marching across the Kierbedź bridge. Zdzisława, the Filipowskis’ daughter, had helped Natalya to escape and brought the girl home. Natalia lived in a small apartment together with the entire family. Six people – the husband and wife, and their three children: Halina, Zdzisława, Wiesław, and Natalya – lived in an apartment consisting of one room and a kitchen. Years later, when asked whether the living conditions had caused any problems, Zdzisława replied, “It was not hard; it was nice, like in a family.” Natalia was introduced to the Filipowskis’ neighbors and relatives as a cousin from the area of Lviv. In order not to arouse suspicion, she had also learned Catholic prayers and attended church with the entire family.

Natalia survived the war at the Filipowskis, and she lived with them until she established her own family. The Filipowskis arranged Natalya’s wedding reception. The married couple lived under the name Piotrowski, and settled in a house on Ząbkowska Street. Soon, two of their children, Ewa and Marek, were born. Some time later (probably in 1968), they left to Israel. They changed their name to Laor-Piotrowski. Despite their departure, the two families stayed in touch. In 1989, Natalia, her husband, and their children visited Poland. A year later, Zdzisława Trzebiecka, the Filipowskis’ daughter, visited Israel. The Laor-Piotrowski children continue to keep contact with Zdzisława. Her mother, Józefa Filipowska, was posthumously awarded the Righteous among the Nations medal in 1985.

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