The Stupnicki Family

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The story of the Stupnicki family

Anna Bando née Stupnicka lived during World War II in Warsaw. Together with her mother, Janina Stupnicka, she helped Jews in the apartment at 25 Mickiewicza Street in District of Żoliborz. In 1941, at the behest of her mother, she herself took Liliana Alter out of the ghetto. Then the girl lived in their home.

She used to go to the ghetto with her mum. Her mother, a house administrator, would carry the residence register books; she would carry bread and marmalade in her satchel. Anna was twelve.

In the winter of 1941 her mum said: “We will lead a Jewish girl out from the ghetto”. They were waiting for her until dusk. She came with her father. Liliana was eleven. She had big, green, long-lashed eyes and curly black hair. The father was crying. Anna would never forget their farewell scene.

Hilary Alter was a Bund activist; he knew that he was bidding farewell forever to his daughter. The girls swapped clothes. Lilka put on her navy-blue coat and the beret with the edelweiss symbol – a uniform obligatory in convent schools. Mum told them: “And now heads up”. They left the ghetto thanks to the mother’s pass.

“Lilka became our cousin” – says Anna. “Mum issued her the papers on her own maiden name, Krysia Wójcik. Lilka did not stay with us for a day, or for a month, but for four years, until the liberation. Together we survived the Uprising, the camp in Pruszków and a three-day exportation in stock cars. And the threat lurked every hour. All of us could die any time”.

Anna lived with her mother and grandmother in two-room flat at 25 Mickiewicza Street in the Warsaw district of Żoliborz. Ryszard Grynberg, who was hiding at her aunt’s place at Złota Street, used to stay there from time to time. Doctor Mikołaj Borenstein from Łódź visited them almost every day. Mrs. Janina obtained a Kennkarte for him which enabled him to work as a stoker in the central heating boiler room.

Anna Bando used to be a neurologist. 19 september 1984 she was honoured by Yad Vashem with the title of Righteous Among the Nations along with her mother, Janina Stupnicka.

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