My Jewish parents, my Polish parents
I was born in the Warsaw ghetto. Of that I am certain
My birth certificate consists of a small silver spoon with my name and date of birth engraved on it. A saved accessory to a saved child. I was taken out of the ghetto by Paweł Bussold, the stepson of my adoptive mother. He put me in a crate, which he hid among bricks he was taking out of the ghetto. My real mother sometimes telephoned from the ghetto. She missed me, she wanted for a moment to hear the voice of her child. She could could have saved herself — on the aryan side there was a man, who promised to hide and take care of her. She declined, she did not want to be separated from her parents. I am trying to imagine what my young, 24 year old mother felt, when she gave away her child to strangers. She must have hoped that the child would survive. Even though I was too small to remember her, I shall never forget my Jewish mother. I would not recognize her face on a photograph, but I see her in my dreams.
My adoptive mother offered me a childhood full of happiness and love
Stanisława Bussoldowa was a midwife who cooperated with the Konrad Żegota Committee. She used to put on her band with the Star of David and went to the ghetto to deliver babies. She deliveries Jewish mothers hiding on the Aryan side, she hid in her house Jewish toddlers, she mediated in placing them with Polish families. I stayed with her for good. She was then nearly 60 years old, her children were adult, she herself was a widow. I received from her a lot of mature, full and conscious love. I also had a loved and loving nanny, Janina Pęciak. Her maternity instincts also were concentrated on me. I was a fully loved, even spoiled child. All the people around me did their best to make my life happy. My mother protected me from a premature clash with my history. She wanted to protect me from stress, she could not imagine that I could discover that she is not my real mother. She feared for me — she did not want me to be found by any of the Jewish organisations seeking Jewish children who would rejoin their families, if these had survived the Holocaust. I understood that many years later, when I was shown in the US a list of children which were to be found, expenses paid out, and the children transported to New York. I found myself on that list, as a five year old. I was 17 when I accidentally found out that everything I knew about myself was untrue. My mother did not give birth to me, but just took care of a six month ol d baby. My parents and family died, and I am a Jewish child miraculously saved. I did not want to be disloyal towards my mother, cause her pain. I simply put that information out of my mind, and for many years we did not talk about it. When my own daughter was six months old, I understood what separation with her child must have meant to my mother. I suddenly grasped it. And I started searching for traces of my Jewish family. Both of my dead mothers are with me and shall stay with me to the end. Their presence reminds me that there is nothing more devastating than hatred and nothing more precious than human kindness.
Elżbieta Ficowska
She finished the Psychology and Education Faculty at the Warsaw University. Author of books for children and social activist. From the seventies she was associated with the democratic opposition in Poland. She was advisor and press spokeswoman for Jacek Kuroń. In 2006 she received the Officer’s Cross of the Order of the Revival of Poland for resistance activity. Between 2002 and 2006 she was president of the Association of “Children of the Holocaust” in Poland. She has a daughter and three grandsons.
She co-operated with Irena Sendlerowa — she smuggled into the ghetto food cards, she operated a care emergency unit for Jewish children in her flat. She prepared them for dispatch to safe destinations, prepared Aryan documents. Righteous Among the Nations
Henia Koppel (Koper)
née Rochmanówna
She was a lovely, slim blond with big green eyes. She died on the 3rd of November 1943 in the Poniatowa camp. She was then 24.
Koppel (Koper)
Father was much older than mother, tall, black-eyed and with black hair. He was a financier, he worked in a bank. He died in 1942 at Warsaw’s Umschlagplatz, shot on the platform, when he refused to enter the wagon.