The Ostrowski Family

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Story of Rescue - The Ostrowski Family

A knock at the door, she opens it, and there stands a woman with a child. Despair in their eyes, their faces almost green from exhaustion. Intelligentsia. They asked: “Can we stay here?”

“We looked at each other– recalls Krystyna, - my mother and I.“

Inka was six years old. Her mother, Lusia, was a doctor. For the past few days they had been sleeping in stairwells, hiding in attics.  

“We had two rooms. We gave them the smaller one facing the yard, not the street.  For two years, none of the neighbors ever asked a question. The stone house on Poznańska Street in Warsaw belonged to the Public Mutual Insurance Department and housed employees who had known each other for ages. 

We were like a loving family, celebrating holidays together, Christmas, Easter.”

Though they did not know much about each other. “Those were times– states Krystyna– when you didn’t ask questions and it was best not to know anything. Because if a German,– she explains– put a gun to her head, she doesn’t know how she would have reacted.” 

Lusia was from Krakow, but had previously also lived in Vienna and Lwow. She had a husband in Krakow. He visited once, handsome, an elegant man, an engineer. Krystyna walked into their room. “Inka– she says– was sitting on his lap and Lusia next to them, gazing at each other.”

It happened that her uncle, her mother’s brother, came then. He was terrified. He declared: “Enough of this exposure to danger, I don’t want to lose you.” And added: “I will not leave until this man leaves.” So Lusia’s husband walked out.

“She placed him somewhere– explains Krystyna– but two days later they beat him and it was all over for him. The child drowned in her own tears. And that Lusia…something awful, it was impossible to look at their anguish.”

Lusia and Inka went to Paris immediately after the war.

Other Stories of Rescue in the Area

Bibliography

  • Dębski Jerzy i Popek Leon, Okrutna przestroga, Lublin 1997
  • Stec Monika, Interview with Maria Ostrowska, 23.04.2009
  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009