Jadwiga Luśniak

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Story of Rescue - Jadwiga Luśniak

During the Second World War the Scout instructor Jadwiga Luśniak used to hide Jews in the boarding house she was running in the Warsaw district of Żoliborz. The staff of the institution was involved in underground activity – due to this fact the place was often controlled by the Nazis.

Among the people Jadwiga Luśniak helped were Tomasz Prot and his mother. Before the war the Prots – an assimilated Jewish family – lived in the Warsaw district of Bielany. Towards the end of December 1939 they moved to the Center for the Blind in Laski. They stayed there until 1942, when their presence became too dangerous for the institution.

The sister of Prot started hiding in Warsaw and the boy together with his mother moved to Izabelin. They soon had to escape due to a denunciation – that was when they parted. Tomasz was sheltered in Żoliborz by Zofia Stefanowska, who offered him help although she herself was half-Jewish and her children were involved in underground activity.

In June 1942 the mother of Prot took him to Nowinki near Warsaw, to the boarding school of the Central Welfare Council (Rada Główna Opiekuńcza, RGO) for orphans and children of Polish soldiers who were killed or captured. The boarding school was ran by Jadwiga Luśniak and Jadwiga Żak. In July 1942 Prot was accepted to the Stefan Czarniecki Boarding School for Boys, which had its seat in Warsaw.

He had a so-called „Semitic appearance” and his full name, which appeared in his documents, was Prot-Berlinerblau – Jadwiga Luśniak and her collaborators certainly guessed his descent. Other Jews were also hiding under false names in the boarding school.

Prot stayed in the institution until the end of 1943, when due to security reasons he was transferred to boarding schools in Józefów, and then Konstancin. He later returned under the care of Jadwiga Luśniak and stayed there until June 1944. His mother used to work in a kitchen for the poor on Różana Street, ran by the RGO – during the Warsaw Uprising this place served as a field kitchen.

After the defeat of the Warsaw Uprising, the Prots were sent to a camp in Pruszków, and later to Kraków and Bochnia. They remained there until the Soviet army entered in January 1945. After the war, Jadwiga Luśniak continued her work as teacher and Scout instructor. She was honored with numerous medals, among them with the Knight’s Cross Polonia Restituta. Tomasz Prot is currently the Deputy Chairman of the Association of “Children of the Holocaust” in Poland.

Other Stories of Rescue in the Area

Bibliography

  • Ambasada Izraela, Materiały opracowane w związku z uroczystością wręczenia medalu i dyplomu honorowego "Sprawiedliwy wśród Narodów Świata" 22.10.2010 r., Warszawa