Rachalska Wanda

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Story of Rescue - Rachalska Wanda

Anita Penner's well-off Jewish family had their roots in Lviv and Przemyśl. Before World War II the Penners lived in Lviv, at 19 Sykstuska Str. After the oubreak of the World War II Anita’s father, a doctor, was interned in Romania. In 1941, after Germans took over Lviv and started persecuting Jews,  Anita’s  mother  managed  to  get  through  to  Warsaw  together with her

9-year-old daughter. While already in Warsaw, in spite of their fake „Aryan papers” under the name Okólski, they fell victims to blackmail.

In the fall of 1942 Mrs. Penner – assaulted by blackmailers – turned to her former teacher from Przemyśl, Anna Rachalska, asking for help. Anna’s son, Alfred Lubomir and his wife Wanda agreed to give shelter to little Anita in their appartment at 12/22 Górczewska Str. The girl stayed there for nearly two years as a niece of Alfred Lubomir.

A few days before the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising, Wanda met an 11-year-old Jewish girl named Sima Najberg, who was wandering around a potato field. Wanda brought her home.

On August 8th, 1944, Wanda Rachalska and the two Jewish girls found themselves in the so-called temporary camp in Pruszków. After a few days they managed to escape and, via Podkowa Leśna, to reach Milanówek, where Wanda had friends – a family named Orłowscy. Here she reunited with her husband, from whom she had been separated by the Uprising.

Sima stayed in Milanówek till the end of the war, under the care of Marta i Halina Orłowskie. The Rachalskis and Anita moved after a few weeks to the Mogiła village.

Anita’s mother found them at the beginning of December, 1944. „It was with real sorrow that we parted with the child; we understood her mother’s rights, though we really loved Ania [Anita] and she also got attached to us. She became our real niece” – recalls Wanda Rachalska. Mrs. Penner did not live through the war. According to her daughter, she „was killed as a result of military activities”.

Anita stayed in Poland. She became a professor of medical science in the Medical Academy in Łódź. Throughout her life she kept  close in touch with Wanda Rachwalska who, after the war, taught at the Higher School of Education.

Marta and Halina Orłowskie took care of Sima till 1946. Later on the girl left for Israel and settled in Ramat Gana.

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