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.