Hamerska Irena

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Story of Rescue - Hamerska Irena

“I was second fiddle there. I’d like it to be stressed … the child was found by a friend of mine.”

Irena Hamerska moved into the house of Leokadia Jaromirska in the village of Białołęka in November 1942. A month earlier, on her way to work, Leokadia had heard a baby crying near the railway station. She took the child home.

“It was this sort of a long barrack, with ten families living there. And there were little kids.” A one-and-a-half-year old girl, named Bogumiła (Bogusia) in a fake christening, was playing along with the other children.

“Everybody knew about it in the house. And they say there was denounciation – that’s not true. Some did inform, but most folks were helpful, and I say this with full conviction.” – Irena and Leokadia could even trust their policeman neighbour and his wife. 

“And the policeman’s wife … asked ‘Irena, come here.’ So I walked up to the fence … And she said: ‘Irena, this is the address of your Bogusia’s family.’ I said: ‘What family?’ – pretending I didn’t know anything. And she said: ‘I know, I want to tell you, this is the address.’”

After the war, Bogusia’s father came for his daughter whose real name was Szyfra Jonisz. It turned out the family had escaped the Legionowo ghetto, where the girl had been born, and the three had been hiding in the surrounding woods. In the autumn they had decided the conditions were too harsh for the infant and had abandoned her in the hope someone would take her in. The girl’s mother died in Majdanek death camp, her father survived Auschwitz.

Bogusia would not leave her guardians. She treated Leokadia as her mother.

Mr Jonisz and his daughter left for Israel. Bogusia-Szyfra continues to maintain warm contacts with Irena. Leokadia passed away in 1979.

Other Stories of Rescue in the Area

Bibliography

  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009
  • Dzięciołowska Karolina, Inerview with Irena Hamerska, 2.10.2009