Story of Rescue - Lipszyc Aldona | Polscy Sprawiedliwi

Lipszyc Aldona

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Story of Rescue - Lipszyc Aldona

Aldona Jastrzębska was born on 14th April 1896 in Tyflisie (known today as Tibilisi, the capital of Georgia). Her father, Serafin (born 1852), a graduate of Kiev University and a descendant of Polish nobility from Podole, found himself in the Caucasus as an army pharmacist and there, in 1877, he married Maria Lemke (born 1860 in Kutais).

In 1912, when Maria died, sixteen year old Aldona came under the care of her older sister, Weronika, who lived in Warsaw. Aldona became a student at the private junior high school of Jadwiga Kowalczykówna and Jadwiga Jawurkówna. It was a Catholic school, run by a very religious superior, but which was progressive and taught tolerance. As well as Polish girls, the class contained a few Jewish girls also. It was with these girls that Aldona became the friendliest. And it was one of these girls who, thirty years later, found shelter in Aldona’s home after she had left the ghetto. The outbreak of World War I interrupted Aldona’s Warsaw education. She returned to the Caucasus for a few years.

In 1916, Aldona returned to Warsaw where, two years later, she met and married, Samuel-Józef Lipszyc, an agricultural engineer. Between 1919 and 1928, seven children resulted from this union.

In the 1920’s the Lipszyc family settled for a few years on land purchased by Aldona’s father-in-law. Samuel’s father, a wealthy industrialist, purchased five hectares of land near Warsaw for his son, so that Samuel could realise his farming passions and so that the family would have somewhere to spend their vacations. At the end of the 1920’s, they moved back to Warsaw and lived in Żoliborz, in newly-established Settlement No.1 of the Warsaw Housing Cooperative..

Aldona, as the mother of numerous offspring, without any occupational training, did not have the possibility of gaining meaning, steady employment, but connected with the Cooperative centre and the RTPD (Workers’ Society Friends of Children), she helped care for the children of Żoliborz. She conducted after-school activities. She also involved herself in the newly-established BAJ puppet theatre. (The theatre exists to this day. Prior to WWII, it was an amateur theatre.)  Gifted with perfect hearing and a beautiful voice, she became one of the central actors.

In autumn 1938, Aldona’s husband, Samuel, died suddenly. She was left alone with seven children (from 10 to 19 years of age), of whom none were as yet independent.

During War World II

The War found Aldona, with her children, back in the country on her family’s land. After the death of her husband, Aldona terminated the tenant’s lease, but the previous year’s harvest still belonged to him. So the family remained there during the War on five hectares of empty, unsown land. Following the death of their father, the family endured grave deprivation, with all supplies being used up. With the beginning of the War, real hunger set in.

The ghetto was established. On the basis that all Aldona’s children were ”non-Aryans”, they should have moved into the ghetto. As a Pole, their mother did not have to. Apart from as yet unknown threats, in the ghetto there was the very real threat of death by starvation. They could not decide: go into the ghetto or remain where they were. Theur father was dead. Maybe they could survive in the country. They decided to remain where they were.

The ghetto became sealed and deportations began, taking Jews to the camps. The Lipszyc farm lay close to the railway line leading to Treblinka, only 1.5 kilometres through a forest. Quite a number of people jumped from the train. Many of them found their way to the Lipszyc farm. Aldona gave them overnight accommodation and, at their request, took them to the train station, bought them tickets and dispatched them to Warsaw.

There were also others who needed help - friends, close and distant acquaintances, who had escaped from the ghetto. They knew the address of, and found their way to, the Bielany apartment where at least two of Aldona’s daughters lived under her sister’s care – or to Aldona, herself, in the country, to the holiday house in Ostrówek.

Bielany

The home in Bielany was comprised of five rooms, a kitchen and a bathroom. One floor of the Lipszyc house was rented by the Szemiński family, a Polish-Jewish couple with two young children. During the War, Mr.Szemiński, an educated man, supported his family by running a knitting workshop.

Helena Fishaut, a school-friend of Aldona’s, moved to Bielany at the beginning of September 1942. She managed to get out of the ghetto toegther with her daughter, Elżbieta. Helena had a ”good” appearance and officially worked as a domestic helper. She placed Elżbieta in a convent in Częstochowa. After a year, she brought her back to Warsaw because the woman, who had helped her hide the little girl with the sisters, had been arrested. There was the risk that she would not be able to withstand the torture and would give the Germans information about Elżbieta. The little one lived at many Warsaw addresses. When the Uprising broke out, Helena was in Bielany and Elżbieta was in city centre. After the War, they found each other and, in 1962, they emigrated with their family to Australia.

Olga Grosfeld z córką Ewą, uciekinierki z getta w Przemyślu, trafiły na Bielany z polecenia przyjaciół – nie znały wcześniej Aldony. Pojawiły się u Lipszyców niemal równocześnie z paniami Fishaut.

Leonia Puszet and her daughter, Alina, often sought shelter in Aldona’s home in Bielany because, in Aleja Zjednoczenia where they had been hiding, they suspected that they were being watched. Jadwiga, one of Aldona’s daughters, would frequently check as to whether the Puszet’s apartment was safe. Confident that there was nothing suspicious, she would convey that information to the Puszet’s and then they would return home. After the War, they found Leonia’s husband in Switzerland. The whole family then settled in Israel.

Wiktoria Śliwowska, born in 1931, reached Aldona’s Bielany safehouse straight from the ghetto where she was taken after the death of her mother. When she obtained false papers, she began to move from house to house.

Ostrówek

The holiday house in Ostrówek was a one-room building with a kitchen, but lacked a bathroom, running water and heating. Aldona, with her children and those in hiding, lived in this one room. Due to the frost prevalent in the cottage, one winter the Lipszyc children suffered frostbite on their hands and feet. All were hungry.

Among the Jews hiding there was Mikołaj Steinberg, a sixty year old bachelor. From autumn to winter in 1941, he spent his days sitting at the table reading French books. Due to the effects of his of war experiences, he became psychologically ill. During a period of immense hunger, seeing a fat hen on the table as the main course, he joked, “Aldona, today I decline to have dinner. In return, I would ask for a glass of good, black coffee”.

In winter, when conditions became even worse, he was moved elsewhere. His illness became worse. He would open the window and scream out, "I am a Jew! Take me away from here!". His hosts were forced to return him to the ghetto. He did not survive the War.

From autumn 1941 until spring 1942, the Lipczyński family (the parents and two young sons) hid in a forest bunker near the farm. Aldona’s son, Tadeusz, brought them food. They were also given a stove. The family, discovered and denounced by a local szmalcownik, perished. He led the police to the hiding place where they threw in a grenade. The szmalcownik then took their possessions. Most valuable were the stove and the clothing of those who had been murdered.

Aldona Lipszyc also helped Romana Duracz and her sisters. When they came to the village, she found them a rented holiday house. Romana’s husband, Teodor Duracz, was a well-known lawyer. He died in a camp.

Another who was supported by the Lipszyc family, was Stefania Perel. Unfortunately, she decided to return to the Tłuszcz ghetto, to her family –fourteen family members. The entire family perished in Treblinka.

In total, Aldona gave either short-term or long-term assistance 22 individuals who are known by name. Apart from them, there were many other people, like those who jumped from the trains and who never revealed their identities.

It must be added here that Aldona’s family were blackmailed many times by szmalcownik’s. She, along with her sons, was also summoned by the German police in order to check her “Aryan” status.

In the final days as the front drew near, a division of the AK gave them the news that the National Armed Forces (NSZ) planned to “liquidate” the family. The entire family fled. On the night that the NSZ bandits were planning to strike, the Soviet army took control of the area.

After the War

After the War, those who had survived were spread around the world. Many of them provided testimonies to Yad Vashem, sending them from Poland, Australia and the USA.

After the War, Aldona Lipszyc, within the framework of the RTPD, organised and ran childcare facilities and kindergartens in Ujazd. She participated in the formation of a new BAJ puppet theatre – this time as a professional. It exists to this day.

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