Jasinska Pelagia

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Story of Rescue - Jasinska Pelagia

Pelagia Jasińska from Dąbrowa Górnicza gave shelter to a Jewish girl, Margulisa, for 2 years, and her mother, Hendla Kanarek, for 18 months. Both mother and daughter survived through the war.

Hendla,  daughter of  Hershel  and  Margulisa Birnbaum,  was born in  Piotrków Trybunalski. At the age of 15, after the death of her mother, she stayed with her uncle, Moris, in  Dąbrowa Górnicza and started working as a governess. In 1938 she married  Jeshajahu Kanarek, electrical engineer. After her marriage she opened a household store. Soon the World War II broke out, but for a while the couple lived in relative peace.

In the spring of 1941 the couple with their newborn daughter, Margulisa, had to move to the ghetto, established by the Nazis in Środula, 6 km away from Dąbrowa Górnicza. For a while Jeshajahu was able to work at the “Aryan side” and support his family. He also kept in touch with their prewar friend, Pelagia Jasińska, who visited them behind the ghetto wall.

In May 1943, when the rumors started spreading among the Jewish community about deportations to the death camp in Auschwitz, Hendla asked Pelagia to give shelter to her little daughter. She led two-year-old Margulisa out of the ghetto and left her in Pelagia’s care. The girl lived with her new caregiver and her small son in the house at the outskirts of Dąbrowa Górnicza and was treated as her own child.

Jeshajahu Kanarek survived through the three camps:  Auschwitz,  Bergen-Belsen and Buchenwald, from where he was liberated by American army. Hendla managed to escape just before the liquidation of the ghetto. She reached Pelagia’s house and was hiding there in the kitchen closet. After 18 months she left her hiding place for unknown reasons and wandered around the nearby villages.

After the end of the war, Hendla, together with her daughter and their relative, Jan Rodeler, went to Dzierżoniów, where she opened a store with building materials. Owing to information from an accidentally met acquaintance, Jeshajahu also reunited with his family. In 1957, the rescued left for Tel Awiv, where they continued in the trade business. Margulisa Kanarek got married and had three children and seven grandchildren.


  • Dzierżonów-Margulisa Kanarek
  • Interview with Margulisa Kanarek, 1.01.2010