Nuns from Congregatio Servulae Sacratissimi Cordis Iesu

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Story of Rescue - Nuns from Congregatio Servulae Sacratissimi Cordis Iesu

Sisters  Alfonsa, Ligoria, Bernarda and Emilia belonged to the Congregation of the Sister Servants of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.They ran a kindergarten and convent orphanage on ul. Mickiewicza in Przemyśl. During the occupation, they saved a dozen or so Jewish children from the Holocaust. The children’s ages ranged from eighteen months to fifteen years old. They were hidden amongst the fifty Christian orphans.

When, in the autumn of 1942, the Germans began liquidating the Przemyśl ghetto, many Jewish parents sought to save their sons and daughters. Some of them left their children at the gates of the Congregation. Others came directly to the sisters asking for help. Others also used Przemyśl residents, such as Kazimierz Romankiewicz, as intermediaries. Two young Jewish survivors, themselves, came asking for help.

The sisters showered the children with tender care. For their own safety, they taught the Jewish boys and girls how to say Catholic prayers, without ever trying to convert them. They believed that this was not what their parents would have wanted. Although the care was supported financially by the Rada Główna Opiekuńcza (Central Welfare Council), the sisters had to go to great lengths in order to satisfy the basic needs of those whom they concealed.

After the liberation of the city in November 1944, the children were handed over to their families or to the Komitet Żydowski (Jewish Committee).

One of those Jewish children saved  is Miriam Klein (nee Reinharz). Miriam was the only child of the shoemaker Iser and Berta (nee Szturm). Because of her mother’s illness, she was brought up her aunt and uncle, Sara and Emil Schek on ul. Dworska. When, in 1942, the Germans established a ghetto in the city, the entire family was locked behind its walls. During the deportations, she lost members of her extended family – an aunt, uncles and a step-brother.

In August 1943, with the help of a Jewish woman who was working on the ”Aryan side” and with the help of Kazimierz Romankiewicz, her father sent her to the convent orphanage. She was ten years old at the time. Her parents hid in a barn.

All three survived the War. The family emigrated to the United States at the end of the 1940’s. In 1950, Miriam settled in Israel.

Bibliography

  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009