"The Last Hope"
"Mother and Child", 1988, Felix Tuszynski
This is a special message, of two Jewish sisters, saved from a death train during WWII, who realized only sometime before the death of their fostering parents about their Jewish identity.
Their letter to the public with an appeal to help them finding their brother and the traces of their true family, appeared in Israel, at the Polish newspaper: "Nowiny Kurier", 11 December 1998. It was translated from Polish to Hebrew by Benjamin Yaari, and from Hebrew to English by myself, 5.4.1999. May be through this incredible media, the internet, new hope will shine to them at last.
"The Last Hope"
We raised our tragedy in every Polish possible forum, in Archives, Institutions, TV, newspapers. We are not young anymore and we are both now grandmothers. Our last hope is the appeal to your editorial. The reason for our sufferings, which never ends, is World War II. We were 3 siblings, cruelly separated. Not only torn apart from our biological parents, whom we do not know anything about, but also from each other. We, the two sisters, miraculously survived and after 30 years, on January 7th, 1974 we found each other, living in the same city, only 2 km distance, growing up in the same city without knowing about the existence of each other.
We have no information about our brother. We only know that in 1944 he was 6 or 7 years old. (born 1937 or 1938). May be he was expelled to Germany and worse than that, may be to an Extermination Camp. His name was Ryszard (Rysiek). We, his two sisters, were in the train with deportees from Warsaw. The train stopped incidentally in Tomaszow Mazowiecki. The train headed to a death camp. It was in the beginning of August 1944. Halina was few months old and Teresa 3 or 4 years old. We write down the names given to us by our foster families. May be the older sister's real name was Wala, the name of the youngest baby is not remembered. Upon return to the transportation train, we were accompanied by an elderly woman, dressed in blue square dress, who had bare and wounded feet from pieces of glass.
From the train we were smuggled by Madame Stanislawa Dylewska, who lived near the railway station. She hid our nurse and us for one week. Because of the fear from the Germans, she couldn't keep us more than this week. No family was found to keep us both together, because we were Jewish children. The nurse traveled to Poznan district where she had a daughter and grandchildren. Finally we were delivered to two separate and childless families in Tomaszow Mazowiecki. We didn't know about each other's existence, living only few blocks distance away from each other. The eldest among us, started searching her identity and true family already when 10 years old, through the Polish Red Cross. The fostering parents didn't hide from her that she is not their daughter and often said to her "you are a Jew". Until now, the residents of Zawadzka Street, where the older sister lives, mention the story of the raising of a Jewish girl among them.
When the young girl was 8 years old, Mr. Buchalski, a Jew from the town of Lodz who owned a textile factory, wanted to take her with him. The child refused, although the Jew visited her a few times, saw that she doesn't resemble her parents, and wanted to pay for her and take her with his wife. He said that surly the child is Jewish.
The adopting parents of the elder sister treated her very badly, with humiliation and contempt, till the extent that the local priest threatened to take her to orphanage. She often regretted not going with the Buchalski family. From year to year her situation worsened at her fostering parents and there is a lot to tell about their humiliating behavior, but since they are both no more alive, and in any case they did save the child from death, it is better we keep silent.
Also about the younger child the people talked in secret, and whispered that she is Jewish. The child heard about it from neighbors and friends, but wouldn't believe the rumors. The fostering mother told her that she is adopted girl who was saved from death transport only on her death bed, revealing also the fact that she has a biological sister who is raised near her. We have to confess that we always felt as orphans during childhood, and lived without any kindness, warmth or words of love from our parents. We often shed tears before bedtime.
We should mention that the eldest sister was often told that she is from the town of LUCK from the Volhynia gubernia, now Ukraine and her real family name sounded like JAWOROWSKA. It is possible that our family arrived to Warsaw after the Ghetto uprising in 1943 and the little sister was already born in Warsaw. This is the source of our disaster - we don't know who are we and from where did we come. We have no family name. We don't know if the name "JAWOROWSKA" Is real or only a camouflage to our Jewish origin.
The given names Wala and Rysiek (Ryszard) are surly true. They are definitely remembered by the older sister. In the elder sister's memory is kept the image of the flat in Warsaw. On the upper floor of a long room, in the corner stood a little bed and inside it a little boy. Our brother. She remembers him going often to the baby crib. The kitchen floor was made of colored bricks and in the windows were seen the treetops. She doesn't remember the father, only the mother, vaguely, as a young woman with black hair. The mother left the house a few times, with a package of food to deliver to unknown other people, with one of the elder children. Once she took the brother and once Wala was with her. One day she never returned anymore. Brother Rysiek was with her that time.
After that, Warsaw was burning. We traveled in a cattle train, destination unknown. It was very hot in the wagon, and we received water from the train mechanic. Later there was the rescue in Tomaszow Mazowiecki.
As children, the elder sister remembered a lot from her childhood. The nurse probably completed some details for her.
We wish to inform you, that from various sources we know for sure that when the nurse delivered us to the fostering parents, she delivered with us a lot of money, valuables and jewelry. It was said that the little one was all covered with valuable. We don't remember this, but it was always the talk of town, how a short time after the war, the parents of the little one, who were very poor before, bought a big house with stores and plot of land, on Warszawska street. Soon afterwards, they did an extensive rebuilding of the house. The fostering parents of the elder child, bought stone house, which was famous in the street for its beauty and splendor. The head of the family also bought a grand wagon with two horses. This investment was a wonder, to such a poor family. With time, and due to alcoholism, the man lost his fortune and had to sell the wagon, which was the source of his livelihood. As their financial situation worsened, so did their treatment to the fostering child worsened, also because she was Jewish.
We described in short our sad story. These are only extracts from our hard memories. We wish to interest others in our life difficulties. It is very hard to live without knowing your origin and who your family was. We are fully aware of the fact that the parents are no more alive, but the brother, if he is alive anywhere and survived the war will remember us. He definitely did not forget us. He was old enough. May be he changed his name and nationality. It is possible he is also searching us. We ask you kindly to send us an address of any Polish Jewish organization in the United States who can help us in our search. May be the address of the Israeli Embassy in the United States, so we shall correspond with them. We wish to continue search. We shall search until the last day we shall live.
We ask forgiveness for writing such a long letter. We thank in advance any help, and send warm greetings from Poland.
97-200 Tomaszow Maz.
ul. Dzieci Polskich 33/36
97-200 Tomaszow Maz.
ul. Warszawska 40
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