Swital Stanislaw

enlarge map

Story of Rescue - Swital Stanislaw

Dr Stanisław Świtał graduated in medicine in May 1939. He then lived in Warsaw on Nowogrodzka Street 41. Later, he moved to the “Łączności” housing estate in suburban Boernerowo. During the 1939 defensive war, he served as a commander of the military hospital in Chełm Lubelski. After the end of the September Campaign, he worked as a sanitary controller, later as a sanitary doctor of the Centre of Health and Care and in the Department of Welfare and Health of the Municipal Council in Warsaw.

He acted in conspiracy and belonged to the Home Army. Being in a close contact with Dr Janusz Korczak, he helped to organise help for Jews in the ghetto. In the summer of 1943, he treated a burned three-year-old Jewish boy for several weeks. He found for him, and also for his mother, a safe hiding-place at one’s of his friends. He visited them and brought them food. When the boy's health condition improved, he moved them to the Blizne village where the woman could work in gardening. Names and the fate of those two remain unknown.

During the Warsaw Uprising, in the rank of second lieutenant with a nickname “Wronowski”, Dr. Śwital served in the Staff Headquarters of the Warsaw District of the Home Army in the Śródmieście Północne district of Warsaw. After the capitulation, he left Warsaw and ran a small hospital in Boernerowo (Boernera Street 33) along with its civilian population.

On 15 November 1944, Alina Margolis, a courier of the Jewish Combat Organization, reported to Professor Śwital. She asked for help in the evacuation of the organisation’s fighters who were hiding in the basement on Promyka Street in Warsaw. They took part in the Warsaw Uprising and once the city surrendered, they were in extremely difficult conditions, exhausted and day by day more and more exposed to unmasking.

Alina Margolis had found out about the situation of the fighters from Zofia Frydman and Maria Feinmesser who had made it out of the basement a few days earlier. They contacted the organisation’s couriers – Adina Blady Szwajger and Alina Margolis (according to other sources, this person was Lea (Lodzia) Borkowska-Zylbersztajn). Help came immediately also due to the fact that Alina Margolis received a letter of recommendation from Dr. Lesław “Bartosz” Węgrzynowicz, the former sanitary head of the Home Army “Śródmieście” district.

Dr Śwital recalls Alina Margolis’s coming in these words: “A woman whom I did not ask who she was, because Bartosz’s signature was enough for me, told me that seven Warsaw insurgents are in Żoliborz on Promyka Street in a basement of a seven-story building: five men and two women, and that they would face certain death, because Germans began to build fortifications in this house in the opposite top and that they could get to the basement where the insurgents were hiding at any time. She also added that the rebels had guns and some ammunition, but this would not save them”.

He proposed his best workers to participate in a rescue expedition. More people than he needed reported. He chose Kazimierz Syłkiewicz (real name: Dr Józef Żyłkiewicz), his wife Maria, Barbara Kinkiel, Zbigniew Ściwiarski and Janusz Osęka. As it turned out after the war, only one of them was of Jewish origin. Kazimierz Syłkiewicz was appointed a commander.

Dr Śwital described the rescue plan: “You will take two pairs of stretchers. You will go (here I pointed out the way on the map) to Promyka Street in Żoliborz and under the guidance of this lady (I pointed out the woman who had come from Grodzisk) you will enter the house. There you will find seven insurgents (two women and five men). You will change them into ordinary civilians in a way possible. You will put the two weakest ones on the stretchers, and – now with the power of two patrols – you will withdraw from the position which I consider the most dangerous as soon as possible. On your way to the street, behave just as many times before when we were picking the wounded or sick. Have the Red Cross armbands on your sleeves. When you meet German guards – what you should avoid – you have to prove – if necessary – that we act on the orders of a German officer who was in the hospital and instructed to take the sick immediately from the specified location. In the event that Germans want to accompany the patrol, do not go to the insurgents, go to any random address. Do not give up in overcoming event the biggest difficulties. The patrol has to behave confidently, clarly, bravely, because its behaviour is supposed to allegedly arise from a desire to meet a German officer’s command”. The action was successful. Everyone was taken out of the basement.

After the war, Dr Śwital still lived in Boernerowo where he was a head of the Centre for Health and a district doctor of the Blizne community in Jelonki.

Other Stories of Rescue in the Area

Bibliography

  • Archiwum Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego, WL/RP, 37481
  • Dział Zbiorów Specjalnych Głównej Biblioteki Lekarskiej, Akta Osobowe Izby Lekarskiej Warszawsko-Białostockiej, teczka osobowa Stanisława Świtala
  • Polak Dorota, Siedmioro z ulicy Promyka