The Straszewski Family

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Story of Rescue - The Straszewski Family

 During the war, doctor Maria Prokopowicz- Wierzbowska was the director of an orphanage for small children named in honor of Father Boduen, the oldest institution to care for children in Poland. She survived the bombing of the capital in September 1939. In her diary she wrote: “They were bringing in the injured from all over, both civilians and soldiers were being pulled from the rubble. Sometimes it was only bodies which were brought in on the stretchers.” After the capital surrendered, doctor Wierzbowska worked alone to find provisions for her institution. More and more children from families that had been displaced or arrested began arriving. Many Jewish children also found shelter in the institution. They were brought there by people from the city. Sometimes they were left nearby, sometimes they were brought from the ghetto or local streets by Father Tomaszewski. Their first and last names were changed in documents. They were hidden among other children, fed, nursed, cured and then transferred to temporary shelters. During the occupation doctor Wierzbowska met with Janusz Korczak from the “Dom Sierot” institution and offered care for the youngest children there. At that time Korczak did not believe that the Germans could murder children. 

After leaving the ghetto, Hanna and Ludwik Hirszfeld, along with their daughter, hid at doctor Wierzbowska’s. After the war Ludwik Hirszfeld wrote in his “History of one life” about this Righteous woman: “Doctor Maria Wierzbowska was a unique woman, the embodiment of bravery, intelligence, humanitarianism.” 


  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, 349, 353
  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009