Skowrońska Honorata

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Story of Rescue - Skowrońska Honorata

Before the war, Honorata Skowrońska lived in Będzin where she maintained friendly relations with many Jewish families. During the German occupation, Bernard Frydrych, a Jew living in the town with his family, asked her for help. His wife was in the ghetto and he himself was looking for shelter on the “Aryan side.” “In July 1942, I took Bernard Frydrych’s daughter in, she was a year and a half old then. Her name was Irena Frydrych. I took her to my place - I lived in Dąbrowa Górnicza back then - to hide her. I told everyone that Irena was a relative of mine on my husband’s side and that she was under my care,” Honorata recalled.

Bernard himself went into hiding after delivering his child to Skowrońska. His wife did not survive the occupation. Honorata also mentioned helping other members of Frydrych’s family: “The mother of a friend of mine took in a girl, half a year old, from Frydrych’s brother. That friend of mine was denounced for what she did and I had to flee to Miechów with the child.”

Because her neighbours were growing suspicious, Honorata had to go to her relatives in Miechów with the child in 1943. She stayed there for around two months. However, she had to leave that town as well because rumour started spreading among the neighbours of her relatives about Irenka’s background. In order to avoid further speculations and a denunciation, Skowrońska left, taking the child with her. “I was afraid and I took the child with me to Jędrzejów where I left her, having paid the hosts first. From that time onwards, I only came to visit her (I had three children of my own to look after in Dąbrowa Górnicza, after all). Irenka was staying there under the assumed name of the daughter of my husband’s brother,” she recalled after the war.

Every now and again, she would take the girl to her family in Jędrzejów and then the two of them would go to the village of Boreszowice where Honorata’s parents once lived. When Honorata went back to Dąbrowa Górnicza, she would leave the girl with trusted people. In order to hide Irenka’s origins, she dyed her hair.

The child stayed with Honorata Skowrońska from July 1942 until the end of the war. In January1945, she took her with herself to her house in Dąbrowa Górnicza. Bernard Frydrych, the girl’s father, returned from Sweden in November 1945 to take Irena back. Irena would not go with him at first. “Mr Frydrych took Irena to a children’s home in Chorzów and I went there with them because she cried all the time, not knowing her father and having grown attached to me. When I was saying farewell to her, she called me her mummy and wanted me to take her with me to my place. I only visited her once during her stay in Chorzów because she cried and missed me so much and her carers would not allow me to come any more not to upset the child,” Honorata recounted after the war. In the end, Bernard and Irena went to the USA. Until 1959, they sporadically contacted Honorata Skowrońska.

Bibliography

  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009
  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, Dział odznaczeń Yad Vashem. Dokumentacja sprawy Honoraty Skowrońskiej, 349/24/201