Ryszard and Maria Sołczyńscy lived with four children in a three-room apartment in Mokotów. Right from the start of the war, Wyszard was involved in the activities of the Polskie Państwo Podziemne. April 1, 1942, he brought Wacław Ciszewski home. The man was placed in the nursery. Children: Ryszard Wojciech (8-years-old), Maria Barbara (6-years-old), Juliusz Maciej (3-years-old), Anna Zofia (1-year-old), were told not to speak about them to anybody. The man spent all his time inside the apartment. He never went outside and didn’t even get close to windows. Sołczyńscy treated him as a family member, they took care of him, bought him German Newspapers, such as „Dutsche Allegemeine Zeitung”.
It happened that the children turned the light in their room, without closing the curtains first. It was dangerous, because the windows were going out at the Odolańska street, at which the Blue-Navy station was located. Before the children understood what happened, a police officer knocked on their door. The man rushed into the apartment and began searching around the rooms. Maria with Ania on her hands, calmly explained to him that it was the children who by accident turned the lights on. Wacław heard the commotion and quickly hid behind the doors, literally becoming one with the wall. Thanks to this trick, the police officer didn’t notice him.
One day German soldiers came to Maria with a photograph of her neighbor’s daughter They asked if she knew the lady. The girl was a member of AK and the Gestapo was looking for her. After another similar visit, in November 1942, Sołczyńscy decided that it was time to start searching for a new hiding place for Jakub (that was Wacław’s real name) – their house was no longer safe.
Ryszard fought in the group „Kryśka” during the Warsaw Uprising. On September 14, he was buried in bombardment, which resulted in many injuries. After the war, when he recovered, he went to Lublin in search of work. He didn’t expect that his path will cross with Wacław Ciszewski once again. The men met by chance on the street. Wacław immediately recognized him and was pleased to see him again. Ryszard’s daughter, Anna, recalls: „[…] at that time he worked as a deputy minister of the newly formed government. Wacław offered my daddy the function of a high-ranking official in the government, as a form of thanks for his aid during the war. My father declined the offer, saying that he didn’t risk the life of his whole family for profit.”
Wacław once again came in contact with Sołczyński, shortly before his death. He stayed in a hospital in Warsaw, suffering from the tuberculosis of the spine. Sołczyński family participated in his funeral.
Few years after the war, Sołczyńscy told their children that Wacław Ciszewski’s actually name was Jakub Firstemberg, and that he was of Jewish origin. He worked as an engineer at the Fabryka Parowozów. The man was arrested by the Gestapo and sent to the Warsaw ghetto. He was rescued by the activists and sent to Sołczyński family. Anna Sołczyńska wrote in 2013: „We are proud of our parents and grateful for their bravery and compassion”.
- FLV, List od Anny Zofii Sołczyńskiej [córka], Warszawa, 26.09.2013 r.
- FLV, Oświadczenie Marii Barbary Dobieleckiej, Warszawa, 24.09. 2013 r.
- FLV, Oświadczenie Ryszarda Wojciecha Sołczyńskiego, Warszawa, 25.09. 2013 r.
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