Kossak Zofia

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Story of Rescue - Kossak Zofia

„The world is looking upon this enormity, greater than anything that history has witnessed so far – and remains silent. The slaughter of millions of innocent people occurred in the common, ominous silence. (…) Those who keep quiet in the face of the crime – become the accomplice of the murderer. Those who refrain from condemning – give their consent” – wrote Zofia Kossak in her “Protest”. This famous novelist, author of, among others, “Krzyżowcy” (“Crusaders”) and “Bez oręża” (“Blessed are The Meek”), was in charge of the Catholic organization Front for the Rebirth of Poland since 1941.

She published her appeal on 11 August 1942, a few weeks after the great liquidation action of the Warsaw Ghetto started. Her protest against this crime was even greater especially due to the fact that Zofia Kossak’s opinions and views that had appeared in her pre-war sociopolitical journalism were full of nationalistic prejudice against the Jewish minority. However, since the publication of “Protest”, her voice has shaped the attitudes of Polish Catholics towards the drama of the Jewish holocaust. Kossak wrote tirelessly for the Polish underground press, appealing for helping the Jews. In September 1942, together with a socialist activist Wanda Krahelska, she set up the Provisional Committee to Aid Jews (later the Council to Aid Jews “Żegota”). She also helped the Jews hiding on the “Aryan side” in person, supplying them with money and fake documents.

In 1943 she was arrested by Nazi Germans and put in the Auschwitz concentration camp. In 1944 she was transferred to the Pawiak political prison in Warsaw, where she was sentenced to death. Liberated by the Polish underground, she fought in the Warsaw Uprising.

In 1945 she faced the choice between being arrested or emigrating from Poland. She departed for England, but returned in 1957 and settled in Górki Wielkie in Silesia, where she spent the last years of her life. In 1982 she was posthumously awarded with the medal and title of the Righteous Among the Nations. 

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Bibliography

  • Tonini Carla, Czas nienawiści i czas troski. Zofia Kossak-Szczucka – antysemitka, która ratowała Żydów, Warszawa 2007
    A biography of Zofia Kossak-Szczucka, the initiator of the idea of establishing the Temporary Committee to Aid Jews in Warsaw, the organization assisting ghetto runaways.