Letter to Yad Vashem from Henryk Polanitzer, 5 January 1993

....She [Karlina Sapeta] was employed at the house of my late sister Rivka–Regina Hochhauser as sleep-in maid, took are of all housework and raised my late sister's three children:

Ize (Izek) born in 1931. The others were born in 1932, 1933.

  1. Sara (Lala) now Basia, who lives in Copenhagen, Denmark
  2. Shmuel (Samek) now Stanislaw, who lives in Frankfurt, Germany.

The children's father was killed by the Germans in the end of 1939.

Miss Karolina was in contact with the family even after they had been moved to the Krakow ghetto, especially through the elder brother Izo (who was then 10-12 years old), as the latter would illegally leave the ghetto and bring back food or clothes.

Before the final liquidation in 1943, when all were rounded up in Plac Zgody [the central square in the ghetto] in Krakow, Miss Karolina decided to take the three children. She took out Sara on her arms, as if she were her own daughter, Shmuel left through the passages across the wall and went to her, and Izo went back to the ghetto to take care of his mother.

Karolina took the children to the village of Witanowice, Wadowice district, some 15-18 kilometers southwest of Krakow. They were hidden in her father's farm in that village until after the Polish uprising of Warsaw in 1944. The Germans who were retreating because of the Russian advance went south and concentrated in the Krakow area. The peasants of Witanowice decided to rid themselves of the children so as not to endanger the village. They decided to kill them. They put the children in a barn and covered their eyes. The man who was charged with killing them went down on his knees, the axe on his side, and asked the Lord for forgiveness.

Meanwhile Karoline convinced one of her relatives to tell the village people that the killing of the children in the village would leave blood traces and burial signs, and he would therefore take them to the river and drown them. They agreed.

The children were put in sacks and loaded on a wagon, which left the village. They turned in circles all night, and returned the following morning to another hiding place.
The children lay motionless under a roof, braving the weather, and Karolina would take care of all their needs. They left the hiding place in November 1944, after the Germans had retreated from the area. Then the children stayed in the village and helped Karolina's father in his farm, registered as her own children. In 1947 they returned with Karolina to their old apartment on Lewkowa Street in Krakow. She hasn't left them until this very day. Today she is 96 years old (may she have a long life) and is considered as Sara-Basia and Stanislaw's mother. She raised the children and grandchildren of Sara who is now a widow.

After the end of the war, 1945, my Polish military unit returned to our base in Torun, Poland. In my first vacation I went to Krakow to look for the family, but unfortunately I couldn't find anyone. When I visited the janitor of my late sister Golda's home I was told that Karolina had hidden my sister Rivka's children. I found Karolina in my sister's previous apartment. After hugging and tears she told me the children's story, crying endlessly….