Pozegnanie Milej 18. Wspomnienia laczniczki Zydowskiej Organizacji Bojowej (Farewell to Mila Street No. 18. Memoirs of a Jewish Fighting Organisat...

  • Helena
  • Rufeisen-Schűpper
  • Kraków
  • 1996
  • personal accounts
  • yes
  • no
  • Her grandfather - Ber Rosenberg – was born in Hungary; he studied in Bobowa, at rabbi Halberstein’s; he became 'Sofer Stam' (Torah scribe); he married Mendel Ziegeltuch’s daughter (from the village Nowy Wisnich, near Bochnia). During the World War I he was called up for military service, he hid, fell ill with typhus and died soon. Helena’s grandmother lost her first child and was long unable to become pregnant. That’s why when Helena’s mother was born, she was named Simcha – Joy (later, Helena’s grandmother gave birth to seven more children). Simcha, after the death of her father, leaves for Cracow and rents a flat in Podgorze, at Kalwaryjska Street No. 26. The whole (Rosenberg) family moves to Podgorze. They made net window curtains, sweaters, produced woolen stockings and tights. At home, Jewish and Polish songs were sung. The family was religious, especially grandmother abode religious customs and rules. Helena’s father was a cantor (hazzan). Helena’s mother fell ill with heart disease after the fifth delivery, went to a Jewish hospital in Cracow, died at the age of 35 (Helena was about 10 years old then). The house collapses. Helena’s father remarries, her sister Marysia stays with her father, the eldest brother Joseif works in a shop, Hesio studies at rabbi’s in Bobowa, Halinka goes to an orphanage. Helena stays in her grandmother’s flat, she was brought up there with her mother’s siblings. She finished Powszechna Szkola Zenska im. Henryka Sienkiewicza (The Henryk Sienkiewicz Elementary Girls’ School), near Park Podgorski. There were both Christian and Jewish children in the school. In 1934, at the age of 25, dies aunt Miriam (her mother’s sister), one year later, at the age of 60, dies her grandmother. Helena studies at Szkola Handlowa (School of Economics) in Loretanska Street, where she joined Women Defensive Training (Przysposobienie Wojskowe Kobiet, PWK) – trips, sports, singing, shooting. She becomes imbued with the lifestyle of Polish youth. At the same time, her Jewish girlfriends agitate her to Zionism. Helena joins Akiba - Youth Chaluc Organisation. In 1938 family from Berlin moves to Helena’s house (expulsion of Polish Jews from Germany – Zbaszyn): uncle Sussman, Wenig family and Stern. As a graduate of Schools of Economics, Helena works in dry-cleaner's 'Wawel'. In winter 1938, she goes to a camp organized by Akiba. In summer 1939 she goes to a summer camp in Tatra mountains (to Banska Bystrzyca). The participants listen to the lectures, study Bible, learn Hebrew, sing Jewish, Polish and Hebrew folk songs, dance; climb mountains. A tragic accident occurs – when they are on Swinica, tempest breaks out and a thunder kills four people. The war breaks out. Helena lives in Serkowskiego Street with the family of her mother’s sister (Kleinhender). Her father with his second wife and nine-year-old sister escapes East and reaches Sanok, where he stays for two years. Helena also leaves Cracow, but she comes back after a long journey. She is active in Cracow Zion organization Akiba. In 1941 she leaves for the Warsaw ghetto and joins the Chaluc group of Akiba. She participates in meetings of Zionist organization Hechaluc and witnesses the resolution of Jewish Fighting Organization (ZOB) establishment. From August 1942 she works as a ZOB messenger, especially on the Cracow-Warsaw line. She transports people, false documents, money, arms. During the great action she is arrested while coming back from Cracow, suspected of being a Jew, spends three days in a prison cell, released. In 1943 she is arrested while going out of the ghetto and shot on her leg during escape. In March 1943, at Rotblatt‘s place (Muranowska Street No. 44) she nurses Jurek Wilner, brought out from the Gestapo. During the Warsaw ghetto uprising, she fights her way through the burning shelter in the house at Muranowska Street No. 44 to the bunker at Mila Street No. 18, from where she was sent by Anielewicz through the sewers to the 'Aryan side' with a message to Zuckerman (Antek). Interned in Hotel Polski in Dluga Street in Warsaw and deported to the camp at Bergen-Belsen. After the war she got to Palestine, where she got married and settled in a kibbutz.