The Strusinski Family

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Story of Rescue - The Strusinski Family

The Strusiński family lived in Lutsk in Vohlynia, at 33 Traugutta Street. The home of Strusiński spouses was known for its hospitality, and its owners -for their liberal views. Zygmunt was a lawyer and  Wiktoria was a general practitioner in a local hospital. They had a daughter Irena.

They were both members of the Home Army. Zygmunt Strusiński, the pseudonym "Szeliga", was a commander of the 2nd Lutsk Inspectorate, whilst Wiktoria, the pseudonym "Rita", arranged medical assistance in the districts of Lutsk, Horokhiv, Dubno and Kremenets. In the first half of 1943, the underground administration was established there, within which there were sanitary units. Most doctors worked in Lutsk. Nearly all of them got engaged in providing underground medical assistance.

In the summer 1942, Dr. Strusińska warned her acquaintance, Dr. Tatiana Goldstein, about the planned liquidation of the Lutsk Ghetto and advised her to escape with her husband Faiwel immediately to the house on Traugutta Street. The couple was hid in the yard, in a pile of firewood. Soon after, Dr. Schneiberg and Dr. Marek Rubinstein with his wife, who had escaped from the ghetto, joined them. When winter frosts came, Dr. Strusińska took the fugitives home and arrange a hiding place for them in the cellar.She engaged some of the doctors who she sheltered for work in the underground health service.

On 19th August 1943, Zygmunt Strusiński was arrested by the Germans and -after three months -murdered. In spite of that tragedy, Wiktoria did not give up her underground activity and still cared for those who she sheltered. There was a lack of money and everybody starved, but Dr. Strusińska did not want to accept jewellery from them for the purpose of selling it. She only hid it as a deposit and, after the war, she returned it to the Jews.

When, after the end of the occupation, Wiktoria had to move from Lutsk to the territory of post-war Poland, those who she had sheltered helped her to find work. The Goldstein family emigrated to Israel but kept in touch with her. In 1963, Wiktoria visited them in Israel.

Bibliography

  • Jezierski Zdzisław, Nieznane fakty z rzezi wołyńskiej. Pomoc medyczna na Kresach Wschodnich w lata 1943-44
  • Konopka Stanisław red., Rocznik Lekarski
  • Archiwum Yad Vashem, 274