Krzywicka Jadwiga

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Story of Rescue - Krzywicka Jadwiga

Jadwiga Krzywicka found a girl sitting in the yard and crying. Her relatives, who lived in the same tenement house in Warsaw’s New Town, didn’t want to take her in, which was how Jadwiga met Janka. She persuaded her mother to agree to let the girl stay the night, and in the end, Janka stayed much longer. After several weeks she revealed herself to actually be Sonia Hercyk, from Końskie.

“‘Well, if you don’t want me, I’ll just have to go to the police station and tell them that I’m Jewish.’ This was when I found out, and so she stayed with us.” - Jadwiga Krzywicka relates. 

Before being taken to Auschwitz, Sonia’s parents had hidden her with an acquaintance, and by the autumn of 1941, when she was taken in by the Krzywickas, her own  family was probably dead.

“A coincidence. I always said that God brought her to us, because she was meant to live. Just that.”

When nosy neighbours dropped in to have a look around, Janka would sit behind the wardrobe, in an old dolls house. Jadwiga’s distant family and friends were told that the girl was a distant cousin, and the two would play and take strolls together. To keep up the pretence, Janka would go to church on Catholic holidays.

Still, the Krzywickas’ house became too risky, as the mother and daughter (Jadwiga’s father and sister died in 1927) also occasionally helped two other Jewish women and their daughters. They also fed a group of boys who would sneak out from the ghetto to feast on the potato peels kept as rabbit feed in the basement.

Jadwiga’s cousin found a new hideout for Janka, who later also stayed with Marcjanna Krzywicka’s brother. She worked as a paramedic during the Warsaw Uprising. Jadwiga’s mother died in the Uprising, crushed under rubble. The Uprising left Jadwiga with nothing save for a single summer dress. Homeless, she wandered from family to friends and back again. Since 1955 she has been living in Otwock.

Other Stories of Rescue in the Area

Bibliography

  • Stec Monika, Interview with Jadwiga Krzywicka, 10.02.2009