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Urszula Głowacka Plenkiewicz Auschwitz Prisoner Photo

Urszula Głowacka Poland

Warsaw, Poland…November 15, 1940 – On October 12, 1940, the Germans issued a declaration establishing the Warsaw ghetto.  All Jews in Warsaw were given three weeks to move into the ghetto.  Krystyna Kon made a decision to leave the ghetto and try to hide on the Aryan side (Christian side) of the city.

The day the Germans ordered the Warsaw ghetto to be sealed, November 15, 1940, Krystyna knocked on the door of Urszula Głowacka, a good friend from school who, at the time, lived with her mother and younger sister in a small two-room apartment. Without revealing Kon’s identity to her family, Urszula decided to take Krystyna into her home and give her shelter.  Then Urszula, at great risk, went into the ghetto to Krystyna’s home and brought out Krystyna’s personal items.

Eventually forged papers were obtained for Krystyna, giving her the last name of Kowalska.  Krystyna lived in Urszula’s home for an entire year, supporting herself by giving private lessons.  After hiding in Urszula’s home for a year, Krystyna left and continued to live in the Aryan side of the Warsaw.  Krystyna then moved to one of the suburbs of Warsaw, where she prepared children of wealthy families for their matriculation examinations. While difficult and dangerous, Krystyna remained in contact with Urszula.

When the Germans first occupied Warsaw in September 1939, and initiated anti-Jewish decrees, Urszula helped Krystyna in various ways without asking for or receiving anything in return.  Urszula was motivated only by a genuine friendship that the two women maintained for many years after the war.

Urszula was a member of a small sabotage group based in Warsaw and her home was used as a meeting site for the group.  For her work with the underground, Urszula was arrested by the Gestapo on November 2, 1942, in Warsaw.  She was imprisoned, tortured, and sent to Auschwitz.

Below is from remarks that Urszula gave on January 27, 2010, at a commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau:

And indeed I have witnessed monstrous things that we, former prisoners, do not like to talk about, because they are unimaginable, to those who did not see it with their own eyes. Transports straight to the crematoria.  Selection of prisoners for the furnace.  Trains filled with only children. Liquidation of the Roma camp. Those who have lived through this destiny and miracle, or maybe the miracle of destiny? There, in the camp hell, we prayed in different languages ​​for those who died and for ourselves. Today, on the day of the liberation of the Camp, we are with all of them: with those who survived hell, with those who lost their loved ones, and above all, we pray for those who died there, who were killed by contempt, hatred and lack of love for others.

Urszula died on November 24, 2020, at the age of 99.

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