My Jewish parents, my Polish parents
I was born in Wilno on the 12th December 1939. Then I bore the name Masza Fajnsztejn
My parents, Chana and Jakub Fajnsztejn lived together with my grandparents at Zwalna Street 15. My father, having finished Law at the Batory University, managed an attorney’s office together with my grandfather. When I was two weeks old, a nanny appeared in our house — a 36 year old Pole, Stanisława Butkiewicz. For two years she nursed me splendidly. In 1941 the Germans entered Wilno. A ghetto was created which I, together with my entire near and distant family, had to move into. I became ill, was in a terrible state — anaemic, exhausted, covered with scabs. My parents realised that I would not survive in the ghetto. When mother, carrying me, passed through the ghetto gate in a column of people being marched to work she passed me to my nanny, who was waiting in a prearranged place. She had only time to say: “Stasia, I am giving her to you. If I survive, you will return her to me. If not, you may baptise her and raise as your own daughter.” Nanny agreed to take me. I knew that my parents were dead. Nanny tried to talk about them with me, but I did not want to. It was too painful for me. I imagined that I am meeting them. In my dreams my parents went hand in hand through a beautiful alley, and I ran and threw myself on their necks. I wanted very much to have a family, and I was jealous of my girlfriends who had aunts, uncles, grandparents. During holidays only we two, me and nanny, sat at the table. In 2006 a miracle happened — I found in Israel my aunt and uncle, relatives of my father. They survived the extermination and looked for me through all these years. Now I have a great, numerous family.
I was taught that currently my name is Marysia Butkiewicz. I knew how to cross myself and say a prayer
In 1943 the Wilno ghetto was liquidated. Nanny, persuaded that my whole family had perished, baptised me as her own child. She was hiding with me in Wilno at her brother’s, but soon the neighbours started being interested in me and she moved in with her cousin, who lived in a small secluded house in Niemenczyn. There, in a dugout in the forest we hid till the end of the war. Nanny used to go to the village to weave, and then I would be taken to the house and played in a corner. During surprise visits I was hidden in the cellar. Once I was thrown there in a hurry. I bruised myself a lot then, but I knew that I must not utter a sound. Another time, when the home was visited by a policeman, I was hidden under a feather quilt in a rush. I went through a shock — I fainted and lost speech for a couple of days. I was scared all the time, I knew that I must not tell the truth. Asked whether I am a Jew, I was supposed to deny, kneel down and say a prayer and the Loreto litany. After the war we left with Nanny for Poland, and ended up in Węgorzewo in the Olsztyn voivodeship. For several days we were fed by the Repatriation Office, then we had to fend for ourselves. Nanny sold my mother’s fur and two pieces of sewing material, and with the money bought a cow, thin and neglected. We fed, cared for it and it gave 30 litres of milk per day. We sold the milk and lived on that income. For many years she was our provider. In 1947 men came searching for Jewish children. Nanny told them that she will not give me away. I was very attached to her, I did not remember my parents, I could not imagine that I could part with her. She was to me the nearest person in the world, I could not function without her. I gave up schooling, though I was the best student in my class. I started work and began earning money for our upkeep. With my first wages I bought Nanny a piece of cretonne for a dress. She showed it with pride to all her neighbours. I never called her “mother”. When I was older, I wanted to, but I could not overcome myself. I was very shy and timid. I did not know then that nanny waited for it — she never told me herself. When I married and had a son, Nanny became a grandmother and we all called her that. She was with me until her death, she helped me raise my children. Her grandchildren adored her.
Maria Kowalska
She finished high school in Węgorzewo and worked as Chief Accountant in the Repair and Construction Plant in Zielona Góra. She is main character of the documentary film “Born a Second Time”. She belongs to the Association of “Children of the Holocaust” in Poland. She has three children and six grandchildren.
Though I did not call her “mother”, she was the best mother to me. We were together for 51 years.

Righteous Among the Nations
Chana Fajnsztejn
née Zusmanowicz
Together with her siblings, mother found herself in a transport to the Stutthof camp. On the 23rd of September 1943, she jumped from the wagon, saying that her little girl was waiting for her. She was shot during the escape attempt.
He died in Ponary in Lithuania, where during 1941-1944, the Nazis and Lithuanian collaborators murdered around 100,000 people.