The Ojrzanowski Family

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Story of Rescue - The Ojrzanowski Family

Franciszka Tusk-Scheinwechslerowa, a Polish language teacher, was sent to the Warsaw Ghetto with her husband and son Wojtuś. She joined the members of her family who had been sent there earlier: her parents, sisters and brothers with their families. Just before she went to the Ghetto, Maria Winnicka, a Polish acquaintance who had attended the underground courses organized by Franciszka, offered to care for her child. However, Franciszka did not decide to separate with her son. In 1942, all members of her family were shot in the ghetto or sent to the death camp in Treblinka.

In December 1942, Franciszka stepped outside the Warsaw Ghetto walls. However, there was no one who could provide her with long-term help. Many people supported her in one way or another, but these were small gestures, which did not warrant permanent safety on the “Aryan side”. Maria Winnicka, mother-in-law of Ms Sommer, her sister, and Klementyna Porowska were amongst the helpers. Eventually two sisters, Maria and Janina Ojrzanowskie, allowed Franciszka to stay in their flat on a permanent basis. She felt relatively safe there.

Initially, the sisters gave Franciszka shelter not knowing that she was Jewish. When, after some time, the Gestapo became interested in her, Franciszka told them about her origin. The sisters immediately moved her to their other apartment at 63 Mokotowska Street, where they visited her regularly and provided her with food. After a few months, she came back to Czerniaków where, together with the sisters, she survived the period of the Warsaw Uprising.

After the war, the sisters kept in touch with Franciszka, who changed the name into Natalia Obrębska. In her letter to the Jewish Historical Institute, Franciszka wrote: "[…] about the help of Ojrzanowski sisters in the period of occupation, in the years 1943, 1944, 1945 – until the liberation, about the help which enabled me to survive the occupation, I wrote as early as in 1960, in No 33 of the Jewish Historical Institute Bulletin in the memoirs entitled The price of one life. They helped me gratuitously, hid me, kept in their apartments without the residence registration. Brave and highly ethical, completely devoid of any nationalistic, religious or racial prejudice, they cared for me in the period of occupation as well as now."

Other Stories of Rescue in the Area


  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, 349 2476
  • Archiwum Yad Vashem, 2098