Tuskiewicz Michalina

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Story of Rescue - Tuskiewicz Michalina

Michalina Sudyka lived with her parents and brother in the village of Kozłówek near Rzeszów. She was a person of a deep faith and wanted to become a nun. She joined a convent from which she was removed right after the outbreak of war in 1939 She was a young noviciate and, due to orders imposed by the Germans, she could no longer remain there.

Michalina returned to Kozłówek. To support herself, she engaged in trade in the district. Among the places she travelled to was Borysław (today in Ukraine). There, in 1942, she met Helena in 1942.

Already, for a long time, Helena had been searching for a hiding-place for her two-year-old son Marian. In 1941, her husband Jona had been conscripted into the Red Army. With a small child, Helena was scared of escaping to the east – so she remained alone in Borysław. When the Germans came and severe repressions began against the Jews, Helena started searching for a way to save her child.

Having got to know Helena, Michalina suggested that she would take the child with her and care for him. Michalina cared lovingly for the boy. At first she hid him with her parents in Kozłówek, pretending to the neighbours that he was her child, born outside of wedlock. After a year, the villagers began to become suspicious. Scared of being denounced, Michalina decided to return the child to Helena. On the way to Borysław, she was stopped and arrested. After three days, she was released thanks to false documents which stated that Marian had been baptized and that his circumcision had been performed for medical reasons.

Michalina returned to Borysław and tracked down the boy’s mother who was in hiding with a Polish family, together with her friend Tadeusz Górecki. However, conditions were such that they could not take the boy in also. Michalina was to take Marian to Warsaw, to Tadeusz's cousins. As a result, along the way, she stopped in Radość where she stayed, with the boy, until liberation.

After the War, Helena and Tadeusz married and returned to Poland. They found Michalina and Marian, and lived together in Prudnik, Śląsk. It was a difficult experience for the five-year-old boy to be returned to his real mother since, by that time, he come to regard Michalina as his mother.

In the 1950’s, they all emigrated – Helena with Marian to Israel (by that time Tadeusz had already died), Michalina to the United States where married another Polish emigrant, Walter Tuśkiewicz. For many years, until her death in 2011, Michalina maintained close contact with Helena and Marian.

Marian is a retired biochemistry professor, with two children and six grandsons.

In 1982, the Yad Vashem Institute honoured Michalina Tuśkiewicz with the title of Righteous Among the Nations.

 

We invite you to watch a documentary film "Hela's Luck" by Thomas Taubman. The film presents the history of the help given by Michalina Tuśkiewicz to Marian Górecki. It is available here.