The Trzcinski Family

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Story of Rescue - The Trzcinski Family

Jadwiga Trzcińska and her daughter Irena lived in Kraków at 26/2 Smoleńsk Street. Before the war, Jadwiga worked at the post office, and Irena attended junior high school. Trzcińska separated from her husband Tadeusz, who was employed in the Polish railways and lived in Lvov.

The Jewish family Fenyo lived near the apartment of the Trzcińskas, at 26 Al. Krasinskiego. They came from Hungaryand such citizenship was entered into their residential documents in Kraków. Irena was friends with Anna Mordchelewicz (later Anna Maxell Levin), a fiancée of Janos Fenyo.

After the outbreak of World War II, Jadwiga Trzcińska managed a small shop with perfume and jewelry that belonged to her friend, a Jewish woman - Helena Riegelhaupt. Jadwiga shared the profits with Helena, and for some time gave her a room in her apartment, before the woman found a suitable shelter. Moreover, thanks to the conducted business, Trzcińska could sell small items brought for that purpose by hiding Jews. "I do not know how she did. I only know that we gave her things [cigarette holders, earrings, rings, necklaces, watches, etc.], and she was always able to get a good price for them"- Anna Maxell Levin recalled after the war.

The Fenyo family, as Hungarian citizens, were not subject to anti-Jewish laws. In 1941 Anna Mordchelewicz married Janos Fenyo to avoid moving into the ghetto. To earn a living in the occupied city, his mother Elżbieta and sister Ida secretly gave private lessons in English, and Janos worked in a German shop. Janos’s father - Imre - due to partial paralysis did not work.

Al. Krasickiego in Kraków was known for its modern villas, and for this reason, at the end of 1941, the Germans threw the Fenyo family out of the house and took it over. Trzcińskie helped them find a new apartment. "Our shelter in the basement was not safe. It was too close to the ghetto, surrounded by many German soldiers. Mrs. Trzcińska helped us again, and ultimately it was our last move during the war. This time she found a house in the country. It was much safer, because the Germans did not go there. We lived in the village of Łagiewniki, at 463 Krakowska Street"- reminisces Anna Maxell Levin. However, the whole family could not stay in this house, belonging to a farmer Wojciech Roga, so Elżbieta and Ida often spent the night in the three-room apartment of Trzcińskie. There they continued to give private lessons in English.

On 14 April 1944 the Fenyo family was arrested and deported to the concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen, and from there to Auschwitz-Birkenau. In December 1944 Jadwiga was also arrested and accused of helping Jews, for which she was sent to the camp at Bergen-Belsen, where she met with Anna Mordchelewicz. Jadwiga Trzcińska, despite the difficult conditions in the camp, and a history of typhus, survived the war and returned to Kraków in October 1945.

Out of the entire Fenyofamily only Ida and Anna survived. After the war, Ida returned to Kraków and for more than a year lived with Trzcińskie, and then emigrated to Budapest. The women had contact with each other. Anna, after the liberation of Bergen-Belsen went to the United States. Anna and Irena contacted each other more than thirty years after the war.


  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009
  • Biberstein A., Zagłada Żydów w Krakowie, Kraków 2001
  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, 349, 183