Prusakowa-Patkowska Aniela

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Story of Rescue - Prusakowa-Patkowska Aniela

Aniela Prusakowa-Patkowska lived in Lviv during the inter-war period. After WWII broke out, she took part in the fighting to defend Lviv as a medical orderly. In time, she became involved with underground organisations. In 1940, she left Lviv and moved to Jaremcze (in Stanisławów Poviat, today a city in Ukraine) where she found employment. At that time, there were many Jewish families there. During her work at a military establishment for convalescent patients in Jaremcze, she met and made friends with many people, including the Grossbard family. They hailed from Nowy Sącz. When the war broke out, they fled from there to Pińczów and then ended up in Jaremcze where they worked as waiters.

After the region came under German occupation, Aniela Prusakowa-Patkowska started helping Jews. She smuggled food from a settlement called Delatynia and delivered it to Jaremcze. Using the same channels, she also forwarded messages between separated family members and friends. Members of the Grossbard family, upon seeing during a German operation that there was an imminent threat to their lives, left Sulamit with a neighbour of theirs and managed to escape. They asked Aniela to look after their daughter and save her by doing so. Aniela took Sulamit from the Ukrainian woman with whom she was left and transported her to relatives of the Grossbards in Stary Sącz. After the war, Zuzanna Wartenberg declared: “My parents realised that we could not have made our escape together so they left me with some Ukrainian people they knew and let Ala [Aniela Prusakowa-Patkowska] know about it. She came to get me and took me to my father’s family in Sącz. The journey was difficult and we had to stop over in Lviv. While we travelled, Ala would cover me with her fur coat and make sure that I remained inconspicuous. I know that everything she did was done selflessly.” The Grossbards did not survive the occupation. Aniela Prusakowa-Patkowska, having delivered Sulamit to Sącz, continued to take active part in operations of the Home Army [Armia Krajowa] in places such as Lviv and Warsaw.

On 17 August 1942, the Germans liquidated the ghetto in Stary Sącz and transported its inhabitants away to Now Sącz, then to move them to the death camp in Bełżec. Aniela Hebda, a former servant of the Grossbard family who lived in Sącz, helped Sulamit escape from the ghetto. Hebda found employment with a German family and prepared a hiding place for the girl in the garret of their house. She remained there until the end of the German occupation. “I was never hungry or cold during that period. After the war, Aniela [Hebda] never stopped looking after me, replacing my mother in a way. She helped me while I attended school and university. After I married, she remained with us right until her death”,Zuzanna recalled after the war.

When the German occupation was over, Sulamit left Sącz for Jelenia Góra and changed her name to Zuzanna Czarkowska. She married in 1953 and thus became Zuzanna Wartenberg. Aniela Prusakowa-Patkowska tried to find her after the war. They only met in 1986. It was then that Aniela gave to Zuzanna a ring which used to belong to Zuzanna’s mother and which Aniela had been keeping for her since 1941.

Bibliography

  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, Dział odznaczeń Yad Vashem. Dokumentacja sprawy Anieli Prusakowej-Patkowskiej, 349/24/1539
  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009