The Gramsch Family

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Story of Rescue - The Gramsch Family

Irena Karczewska, Holocaust survivor, was born in 1928 in Lublin.
Her parents, Rudolf and Julia Kochlöffel, were well-educated, and her grandfather from her mother’s side, Mr. Wajsberg, was a Polonized Jew, a person well-respected in Lublin.

At the beginning of the Second World War, Irena's father was drafted into the Polish Army. Later, he was killed in Katyń. Following her father’s death, Irena and her mother left Lublin.

At first, they stayed near Tarnów with her father's family. After that, they hid in Kąśna Górna with Maria Gramsch and her daughter Maria. Unfortunately, in the Fall of 1943, somebody informed on them and they had to escape.

They then hid with Ludwika Kochlöffel, a relative of her father and later they stayed with a family named Stanuch, who also were related to Irena's father. There, they lived in a cold cellar, under the most difficult conditions, until the liberation.

After the war, they returned to Lublin. Irena finished her studies and for the rest of her life, worked as a children’s dentist.

In 1949, Irena and her mother changed their surname from Kochlöffel to Karczewska, to distance themselves from their tragic past.

The relation was recorded in the framework of the project "Lights In The Darkness - The Righteous Among The Nations", courtesy of the "Ośrodek Brama Grodzka - Teatr NN" in Lublin



  • Dąbrowska Anna red., Światła w ciemności. Sprawiedliwi wśród Narodów Świata. Relacje, Lublin 2008
  • Baum Marzena, Interview with Irena Karczewska, rescued by Maria Gramsch and her daughter, Maria Gramsch-Mikoś, 1.01.2004