The Kabacinscy Family

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Story of Rescue - The Kabacinscy Family

By April 1943, only 60,000 people were left in the Warsaw Ghetto. Over 400,000 had been transported to extermination camps or buried in the city (for example, those who died of disease, from starvation, by execution, or through ‘games’ played by German solders who would shoot moving targets). The inhabitants of the closed district had realized their fate would be death, and secret Jewish military groups started preparing an Uprising for 19th April. Although they had no hope of victory, they merely wanted to ensure their own death in blatant opposition to the Shoah; to die in battle and not in a gas chamber. According to Marek Edelman, one of the commanders of the Uprising, they did not fight for their lives, but for the manner in which they would die.  

At that time, the wife of an acquaintance brought her daughter, Estera, to the house of the Kabacińskas. She never saw her again. Almost every member of the girl’s family died in the Holocaust.    

Estera obtained Polish papers and became Konstancja Królikowska, nicknamed Kocia, a cousin from the countryside. As a result of this, “there was no secrecy, there were no questions,” Henryka Kabacińska explained. Henrykabefriended Kocia, and Henryka’s mum treated Kocia like her own daughter. After liberation, when Kocia’s uncle met her by chance, and wanted to take Kocia under his care, neither the girl nor the mother would agree.       

“I was in Germany at the time, having been taken there after the Warsaw Uprising. I would never have let that happen if I were in Poland. She was my beloved Kocia, so sweet and kind.”         

Kocia left for Israel where, she returned to using her real name. She died several years ago. Henryka founded a branch of the Polish Society for the Righteous Among the Nations in Łódz.

Other Stories of Rescue in the Area

Bibliography

  • Drzazga Ewa, Kocia będzie zawsze, „Dziennik Łódzki”
  • Biczysko Julia, Interview with Henryka Szczęsna, 1.01.2009
  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009