Searching for Pani M. from Grochów
Along with my family, I want to thank this woman. She risked her life and family to help my parents. I want to find her and her family and express the inexpressible, our deepest, humblest gratitude.
My parent’s lives in Poland before WWII were a mystery to me. Like so many Holocaust survivors, traumatized, bereft, they spoke little of their lives before the war. In 2011, I traveled to Warsaw with my nephew Isaac to begin to unravel the secrets.
Starting at the offices of ŻIH (Jewish Historical Institute) in Warsaw I found the post-war registration cards my parents had filled out. From these paper cards I learned the addresses of their pre-war homes. In the space asking where they survived, my mother wrote the single word, Grochów. After escaping the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943, my parents were hidden there by a Polish woman whose name I heard as “Pani Mokska”.
In Warsaw I began to ask about the name “Mokska.“ Most Poles looked at me quizzically. “That is not quite right,” they would say. It is, however, all I had, and I clung to it until I came upon variations: Moskwa, Moskwiak. These choices both expand and confuse the possibility of finding Pani Mokska, but I hope someone reading this will recognize her.
These are the few things I remember from my parent’s stories of the woman who sheltered them:
Pani Mokska had a daughter.
Her daughter was a librarian.
Pani Mokska was divorced from her husband.
She was the principal of a high scho