The Strzelecki Family

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Story of Rescue - The Strzelecki Family

“Henia Rosen was brought to us by Mrs. Wanda Olbryska. At her farm in Zielonka near Warsaw Mrs. Olbryska was hiding the entire Rosen family, all nine of them.

Henia’s parents really wanted her to attend school and live as normally as possible. She was 11 at the time, a dear, calm and quiet child. And very scared at first. She would hide under the piano and read books.”

“She became our cousin. We weren’t hiding her. She was attending the school at  Królewska Street.”

They lived in Warsaw, at 41 Nowy Świat, in a large apartment: the grandmother, the mother, two daughters and the son. No one asked how, all of a sudden, a brunette became part of the family. Barbara’s father was a musician, but died before the war. Her Mom was a singer.

“She was very courageous - Barbara says - she’d even transport weapons, if necessary. The entire family worked for the AK. One time Germans stormed in and asked who were the three girls living in the house. Mother immediately answered they were her daughters. Fortunately the Germans took her word for it.”

Henia was sometimes visited by her aunts, who brought in money for her upkeep. Her father came once, as well. He was an engineer and owned a tannery in Grodno. Henia did not know whether she could give him out. She waited for him to give her a sign that it was all right to greet him properly.

Henia stayed with the family for eighteen months. In July 1944 she went to Zielonka, to meet with her family; then the Warsaw Uprising broke out and she did not return to Warsaw. The entire family survived and left for Israel after the war.

During one of their meetings, she told Barbara she went to her mother’s grave. “That means she had gone to Powązki by herself, found out in the office where the grave was. That is a testament to her bond and respect for my, or perhaps our, Mom.”

Bibliography

  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009
  • Witkowska Agnieszka, Interview with Barbara Strzelecka, 1.01.2008