The Strzałecki Family

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Story of Rescue - The Strzałecki Family

During World War II Jadwiga Strzałecka, a graduate in pedagogy, ran a foster house in Warsaw for orphans who had lost parents at war. Since 1941 the house was under the authority of the Central Welfare Council and was located in a one-storied tenement building at 45 Morszyńska Street. In cooperation with “Żegota”, the orphanage provided shelter for many Jewish children (they constituted almost half of all foster children in the house). Jadwiga Strzałecka accepted them regardless of their appearance and constant inspections of the Nazis. Moreover, the dormitory became a hiding place for adult Jews, among them dr. Heller and underground activists.

After the fall of the Warsaw Uprising Strzałecka with her staff and children were expelled from Warsaw. On their way to a transfer camp in Pruszków, they managed to separate themselves from the group of refugees and hide near the road. They got through to Poronin. With Żegota’s support from Cracow, the orphanage operated there until the end of the war.

“Since first crossing the threshold of the orphanage in Poronin and meeting its director – Jadwiga Strzałecka – I regained the status of a young girl and was surrounded by kindness, love and care. It should be stressed that Mrs. Strzałecka adopted a similar warm attitude to all of the children in the house. There were about fifty of us in the orphanage. (…) We were like a big family. All of the housemistresses also lived in the orphanage and they treated it like their own home” – recalls Janina Hescheles, one of the rescued girls.

After World War II Jadwiga Strzałecka moved to Paris, where she lived until her death in 1950.

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