Olczak Genowefa

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Story of Rescue - Olczak Genowefa

“How could I - she asks - just leave the woman and the child whose husband and father had gone to war to fight for us?”

She was their housekeeper. She came from a village near Włocławek. She started working for the Rozencwajgs two years before the war; she lived with them in Łódź. Aleksander was commissioned and, as they later learned, killed in Katyń. Roma decided to run to Warsaw with her son, Gabryś.

Roma, Gabryś and Genowefa found a place in the ghetto. Genowefa left after it had been closed. She found a job, an apartment, and in the spring of 1942 she took in the seven-year-old Gabryś.

“Roma told me: ‘Genia, I’m giving you my greatest treasure.’ He became my son out of wedlock. An acquaintance from the “Żegota” supplied us with documents for him in the name Ryszard Olczak.”

Roma too escaped the ghetto. She was hiding at Genowefa’s apartment with her brother, Karol Zakrzewski and his wife Estera. When there was any danger, they would hide in the niche behind the wardrobe and behind the wall built by them in the bathroom. For some time also Roma’s sister, Regina Rozanmann, along with her husband and their daughter Bianka, were hiding there.

Shortly before the Uprising the Germans stormed the place. Genowefa was at work, Gabryś opened the door. They found no one. Still, Roma decided it was time for them to move out for safety’s sake.

“I found new shelter for them, at an acquaintance’s place.”

Roma, Karol and Estera died during the Warsaw Uprising; it is believed they committed suicide. Regina and her husband were denounced and killed, as was the man who was hiding them. Gabryś and Bianka survived.

In 1946 they were taken by relatives from the United Kingdom.