WARSAW, POLAND… 1941 – The Germans invaded Poland on September 1, 1939 and quickly took control of Warsaw, home to 375,000 Jews, including Solomon Tejblum and his parents, Helen and Haim. When the Warsaw ghetto was establish, the knitting factory that Haim owned, located outside the ghetto walls, was given to a Pole who used to work for him. Through his contacts at the factory, Haim obtained forged papers for his family and tried to arrange for their escape into Hungary or Romania. During this effort, Haim was arrested, sent to a concentration camp, and never heard from again.
In December 1942, the Tejblums made contact with members of the underground group, Zegota, which was set up to help Jews in hiding. One of the families that Zegota relied on to harbor Jews was the Kwiecinskis. Janina, and her three daughters were already hiding several Jews when they agreed to take six-year-old Solomon and his mother into their apartment. During the August 1944 Warsaw Uprising, the Kwiecinski’s apartment was destroyed, and the Germans forced the civilian population to evacuate the city. Janina and her daughters fled with Solomon and Helen into the woods and evaded arrest. They went from village to village, continuing to care for Solomon and Helen and to ensure their safety. After a few weeks, the group came upon a farmer who was willing to hide them indefinitely. The farm was liberated on January 18, 1945.
On the forged papers that Solomon’s father obtained for him, the boy’s name was listed as Andre Nowacki. Because this was the only identity document he had during and after the war, Solomon kept the name. He goes by Andre Nowacki to this day.
In 2004 the JFR reunited Janina’s daughter, Hanna Kwiecinska Morawiecka and Andre Nowacki. They had not seen each other since 1945.
To read more about Janina and Hanna Kwiecinska click here.