My Jewish parents, my Polish parents
I do not know anything about myself and shall never find out. I shall always be an NN
On the 31st of December 1942 a girl was accepted into the Lublin orphanage, she was given a birth date (15.01.1941) and the name Dorota. That was me.
My father loved me, and I loved him. I was a true daddy’s little girl
In January 1943 I was taken from the orphanage by Leokadia and Jan Zalewski — my Polish parents. I came to them rather by accident — the woman who wanted to adopt me found a small boy on her doorstep and decided to take him in. I was still “for takes”. My future mother, living in the neighbourhood, learnt about it, and took me instead. I think that she did not want to be a mother. She needed a child because she wanted to bind her husband to her. She was not good to me, she punished for no reason, she even beat me. My father took me everywhere with him. He taught me to dance and to sing he himself played the accordion and I danced to his music. He praised me and said that he was proud of me. When I was 8 years old, I at last found out that I had been adopted. This realization came through taunts from family children, who abused me, calling me “a Jew taken from the nursery”. My parent’s marriage was not successful, they separated after fourteen years. After their divorce I had to stay with my mother. Father moved to his mother’s, who only had one room. In spite of that I did not lose contact with my father: I met him, cleaned for him, took his clothes to wash. I adored him, and he loved me. I had nothing in common with my mother, we were completely different. She was a pretty woman who liked to have fun, to seduce men. I think that she had no maternal instincts. I once asked her: where did she get me from? She answered that she found me in the rubbish. I was then a mature woman, but it hurt a lot. Mother lived till 88, I took care of her to the end. I considered it my duty. She suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, she was very difficult, she ran away, beat me. I came home late at night and cried because I was helpless. There was a wall between us, but I thought that because she is old and sick, I have to take care of her.
Dorota Szałajka
She finished high school, and worked as a clerk. She is member of the Association of “Children of the Holocaust” in Poland since its creation. She actively participates in organizational and educational works. She has three children, three grandchildren and a great-grandson.
Parents
Leokadia Zalewska
née Kamińska
(1909–1995)
Mother did not work, she took care of the household. She was an attractive woman and liked to enjoy herself.
Jan
Zalewski
(1919–1982)
My father had died long ago, but I still love him and would so much like to cuddle up to him.