Polish Artist Helping Jews

Poles who helped Jews during the Holocaust came from various environments. Their motivations to help also varied. Amongst the rescuers, there were well-known artists – writers, actors and musicians. Discover the stories of a few of these in our virtual exhibition.

War-time activities of some Polish artists

Singer and composer Mieczysław Fogg, writers and poets Czesław Miłosz and Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz are figures known primarily for their artistic and literary works. Less is known of their activities during World War II. During the Holocaust, these artists, alone or with their families, extended help to persecuted Jews – mainly their friends from the artist community. Years later, they were honoured with the title of Righteous Among the Nations.

In his Warsaw apartment on Koszykowa Street, Mieczysław Fogg hid, among others, the conductor and director of the “Qui pro Quo” theatre, Iwo Wesby, his wife and daughter. The Miłosz brothers aided the Tross couple from Vilnius, the Iwaszkiewicz family gave asylum to their Jewish friends in the Stawisko estate, built in the interwar period. In our virtual exhibition, we present these stories accompanied by photographs.

We also present the story of painter Irena Zadarnowska whose artistic work is preserved in the Polish Museum in Raperswil. During the war, Zadarnowska helped her friends from Vilnius, Miriam Perewoska and her small daughter Lily. Helena Zelwerowicz, daughter of Aleksander, patron of Warsaw’s Theatre Academy, is yet another female protagonist of the exhibition. With her father’s assistance, Helena provided  a hiding place to many Jewish friends in her Warsaw apartment.  

tekst alternatywny


We encourage you to view our virtual exhibitions, including the newest one dedicated to Irena Sendler. It was created in cooperation with Google Arts & Culture Institute on the occasion of 110th anniversary of Irena Sendler's birthday.


“Polish Artists Rescuing Jews” online exhibition was created by POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

Authors: Justyna Majewska (texts, concept), Klara Jackl / POLIN Museum (coordinator, concept) in conjunction with Laboratorium EE
Warsaw 2014


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