Widowed Weronika Kowalska lived with her daughter Maria in Brwinów near Warsaw. Her sister lived nearby, along with her husband and daughter Danuta. Weronika earned her living with embroidery. Her sister was a tailor. Both families stayed in close relationship with the Jewish family Horowicz – they ran a shop selling fabrics. Danuta Czubek was a friend with the youngest daughter of Horowicz, Brachą. Both girls attended the same school. Weronika, on the other hand, was friends with Hanka Horowicz – they rode the same train to school in Warsaw. War put their friendship to the test, which both Weronika Kowalska and Mrs Czubek passed.
Before the war, Mr Czubek worked in Warsaw as a police officer. After the outbreak of the war, he continued to perform his profession. When the entire family of Horowitz found themselves in the Warsaw Ghetto, older daughters, Salka and Hanka, decided to obtain food. Czubek often had guard duty at the entrances to the ghetto and made it easier for them to escape. The girls went out through the Sądy Grodzkie, where Danka or Maria waited for them. Sometimes they could not return to the ghetto the same day.
Everyone knew them in Brwinów, so they had to stay in the neighbouring villages. Danka or Maria searched for the accommodation – girls spent the nights together with the sisters. They separated only when they were sure that Hanka and Salka safely returned to the ghetto. Bracha in her post-war statement recalls: “Everything was life-threatening – selflessly, in the name of higher, noble, moral values”. Moreover Mr Czubek often visited and supported the family inside the ghetto. Unfortunately, the Horowicz was taken to the concentration camps.
Bracha learned about the nobility of both families after being liberated. When she returned from the concentration camp once the war was over, she had nowhere to go. Her whole family died. In desperation she wanted to commit suicide but the poison was taken away by the Russians. Not being able to die, Bracha Wandered aimlessly in Brwinów. There she met Danka – both of them embraced each other. It turned out that the fates of both families were similar. Only Danka and her mother survived. Her father died in Oświęcim, her brother Ziutko was killed in the Warsaw Uprising, her youngest brother died. Maria’s husband died in the camp in Oranienburg. Danka took Bracha home.
In her testimony for Yad Vashem, Bracha wrote: “Both of those families embraced me despite their bad financial situation, showing lots of love and compassion. After all, I was a stranger to them, not even a Christian – a wretched Jewess, yet their feelings were warm and sincere. Today
I realize that, if not for them, I wouldn’t have had enough strength to continue my saved life. I was lonely, dirty, exhausted, clothed in rags, without a single spark of life left. Everything that I have described is only a small part of what these people had done for me and my loved ones in these horrible times”.
Bracha married Natan Karwasser from Brwinów, who, as a boy, joined the guerrilla at the beginning of occupation. For some time he hid himself in different places. Finally he found himself in Stawisko, at the home of Mr and Mrs Iwaszkiewicz. There he stayed until the end of the war. In March 1968, Natan and Bracha went to Israel. On October 8, 1992, the Yad Vashem Institute recognized Danuta Czubek (Wolfram after husband) and Weronika Kowalska as Righteous Among the Nations.
- FLV, List od Stanisława Prażucha (List Beli Kohane-Chopp z 12.09.2013 r.), Zabrze, 02.02.2014 r.
- FLV, Nagranie audio, sygn. 405_1527, relacja Marii Witkowskiej, Nieciecza, 01.10.2013 r.
- FLV, Nagranie video, relacja Józefy Tomal, Beli Chopp, Stanisława Prażucha, Nieciecza, 02.07.2016 r.
- FLV, Nagranie video, relacja Józefy Tomal, Beli Chopp i Marii Witkowskiej, Nieciecza, 25.06.2016 r.
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