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The Story of Zofia Patecka, an Associate of Irena Sendler

Zofia Patecka was born in Łódż. Together with her parents - Józef and Eleonora (nee Włazłowicz) - she lived in Russia and, after returning to Poland, she completed middle school in Warsaw. From 1927, she worked as a social worker in the Department of Health and Social Welfare in Warsaw. In 1938, she completed her Polish Red Cross nursing course.

During the September invasion, she remained in her hometown and worked as a paramedic in the hospital at the Łódź Kaliska railway station. She helped the wounded who were transported to the hospital from the Gałkówka and Łowicz regions.

A Social Worker in Warsaw

After Łódż was occupied by the Germans, Patecka returned, on foot, to Warsaw. On 8th September, she reported to the Department of Health and Social Welfare there. Following the fall of Warsaw, for several months, she worked as a nurse at the Ujazdowski Hospital.

She lived at ul. Targowa 15. From 1940, she was active in the ranks of the Związek Walki Zbrojnej (Union of Armed Struggle), and then in the Home Army (AK), under the pseudonym "Zosia”. After the arrest of her brother, Stanisław Patecki, who later died in Auschwitz, she had to change her name and go into hiding.

As a social worker in the Health and Social Welfare Centre at ul. Srebrna 12, she helped to place Jewish children, who had been led out of the ghetto, into orphanages and with Polish families. She also sent parcels to Jews in hiding. She was one of those people involved in the aid network set up by Irena Sendler. Together with her, Jadwiga Piotrowska and Jan Dobraczyński, she helped, among others, including Stanisław Misztal. In 1943, she also helped in the rescue operation, led by Jan Starczewski, of children from the Zamość region.

"[…] she was a dedicated patriot and was also active in the resistance, especially in helping political prisoners and their families during the occupation. She worked together with others to hide PPS Left activists and Jewish families who were being persecuted by the Germans.

–  Franciszek Sławinski, a co-worker of Zofia Patecka in the Welfare Department.

The Warsaw Uprising

During the Warsaw Uprising, Zofia Patecka fought in the 1st Batallion of the "Corda” Assault Company. Following the collapse of the Uprising in October 1944, the Polish Red Cross sent her the orphanage at ul. Sienna 59, in order to organise the evacuation of the orphans to a new headquarters at Kopytkowo pod Błoniem. "[…] She carecd for the younger, wounded uprising fighters, placing them into hospitals”, said Sławiński.  

Working After the War

After the War, she worked as a nurse and hygiene educator in a hygiene-epidemiological station. She retired in 1964. In 1979, the Circle of Former Home Army Soldiers awarded her the rank of Second Lieutenant. In 1981 she was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta.


We thank Elżbieta Patecka for providing documents, from her family archive, which have been of benefit in the work of preparing this article..

 

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