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The Convent Children: The Rescue of Jewish Children in Polish Convents during the Holocaust

Nahum Bogner
  1. Jerzy Kłoczowski, “The Religious Orders and the Jews in Nazi-Occupied Poland,” Polin, A Journal of Polish-Jewish Studies, vol. 3 (1988), p. 238.
  2. Ewa Kurek-Lesik, Gdy Klasztor znaczył życie (Warsaw: Znak, 1992), pp. 49-54. An English edition of this book was recently published: Your Life Is Worth Mine (New York: Hippocrene Books, 1997).
  3. Ewa Kurek-Lesik, Udzial Żeńskich Zgromadze ń zakonnych w akcji ratowania dzieci Żydowskich w Polsce w latach 1939-1945, część, II, Źrόdla i opracowania (Katolicki Uniwersytet Lubelski, 1988), p. 125. I have made use of several of the many testimonies in this Ph.D. dissertation (hereafter: Kurek-Lesik Collection).
  4. Kurek-Lesik Collection, testimony of Miriam Klein, pp. 188-189.
  5. Dzieci Holocaustu Mόwią, (Warszawa: Nakładem Stowaryszemia Dzieci Holocaustu w Polsce, 1993), p. 113.
  6. Cezary Gawryś, “Turkowice — śmierć i ocalenie,” WIĘZ, 4:342 (1987), pp. 13-14.
  7. Magdalena Kaczmarzyk, Pomoc udzielana Żydom przez Zgromadzenie Sióstr Albertynek w czasie II wojny Światowej, p. 1; Yad Vashem Archives (YVA), JM 3636; Kurek-Lesik, Gdy Klasztor znaczył życie, pp. 57-58.
  8. Emanuel Ringelblum, Last Writings; Polish-Jewish Relations, January 1943-April 1944 (Hebrew) (Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, 1994), pp. 245-246; Yonas Turkow, “On the Rescue of Children from the Warsaw Ghetto,” Pages in Research of the Holocaust and the Uprising (Hebrew), Collection A (1969), pp. 259-263.
  9. Emanuel Ringelblum, Diary and Notes from the Warsaw Ghetto: September 1939- December 1942 (Hebrew) (Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, 1992), pp. 434-435.
  10. Turkow, “Rescue of Children,” p. 261.
  11. Ringelblum, Diary and Notes, p. 435.
  12. Ringelblum, Last Writings, p. 246.
  13. Kurek-Lesik Collection, testimony of Jan Dobraczynski, pp. 331-332.
  14. Sarah Erlichman-Bank, In the Hands of the Impure (Hebrew) (Tel Aviv: Hakibbutz Hameuhad, 1976), pp. 92-93.
  15. Yaakov Goldberg, Out-Converts in the Kingdom of Poland-Lithuania (Hebrew) (Jerusalem: Zalman Shazar Center, 1985), pp. 34-39.
  16. Haim Hillel Ben-Sasson, On Jewish History in the Middle Ages (Hebrew) (Tel Aviv: Am Oved), 1958, pp. 174-184.
  17. Yitzhak Levin, I Immigrated [to Palestine] from Specje (Hebrew) (Tel Aviv: Am Oved, 1947), pp. 128-129, 149-150.
  18. Kurek-Lesik Collection, testimony of Rabbi David Kahane, pp. 344-347.
  19. Kurek-Lesik Collection, testimonies of Ludwika Małkiewicz and Max Noy, pp. 36-50.
  20. Concerning the way Jewish children reached the convents, see the following testimonies: YVA, 03/3410, Aliza Penski 03/5568, Yonah Altshuler; Leah Fried-Blumenkranz, “Lilka—the Convent Girl,” Edut, 10 (1994), pp. 74-76; Kurek-Lesik Collection, testimony of Sister Zofia Makowska, pp. 64-66; and testimony of Sister Ambilis Filipowicz, p. 119; Irit R. Kuper, At the Edge of the Forest (Hebrew) (Tel Aviv: Hakibbutz Hameuhad, 1977), pp. 115-116.
  21. Kurek-Lesik Collection, testimony of Sister Roberta Sutkowska, pp. 80-92.
  22. Mark Van Den Wijngaert, “The Belgian Catholics and the Jews During the German Occupation, 1940-1944,” in Dan Michman, ed., Belgium and the Holocaust, Jews Belgians Germans (Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, 1998), p. 225.
  23. Jozef Garlinski, Poland in the Second World War (London: Macmillan, 1985), pp. 60-75.
  24. Celia S. Heller, On the Edge of Destruction, The Jews of Poland Between the Two World Wars (New York: Schocken Books, 1977), pp. 109-114.
  25. Sprawozdanie Kościelne z Polski za Czerwca i Polowe Lipca 1941, YVA, 025/85.
  26. Luc Dequeker, “Baptism and Conversion of Jews in Belgium, 1939-1945,” in Michman, ed., Belgium and the Holocaust, pp. 235-272; Michael R. Marrus and Robert O. Paxton, Vichy France and the Jews (New York: Basic Books, 1981), pp. 270-279.
  27. David Kahane, Lvov Ghetto Diary (Amherst: The University of Masachusetts Press, 1990), p. 142; Levin, Specje, pp. 174-175.
  28. Kurek-Lesik Collection, pp. 158-159; Ewa Kurek-Lesik, “The Conditions of Admittance and the Social Background of Jewish Children Saved by Women’s Religious Orders in Poland from 1939-1945,” Polin, vol. 3 (1988), pp. 246-247.
  29. Kurek-Lesik Collection, testimony of Sister Andrzeja Górska, p. 296.
  30. Ewa Kurek-Lesik, “Jewish Children Saved by Women’s Religious Orders,” pp. 246-247.
  31. Kurek-Lesik Collection, pp. 158-159.
  32. Testimony of Magdalena Orner, YVA, 03/6745; testimony of Aliza Penski, ibid., 03/3410; Kurek-Lesik Collection, testimony of A. S., pp. 106-115.
  33. Kurek-Lesik, Gdy Klasztor znaczył życie, p. 84.
  34. Janina David, A Touch of Earth (New York: Orion Press, 1969), pp. 104-106; see also Shlomo Breznitz, Memory Fields (Hebrew) (Tel Aviv: Am Oved, 1993), pp. 70-77.
  35. Kuper, At the Edge of the Forest, p. 119.
  36. David, A Touch of Earth, p. 24.
  37. Ibid., pp. 15, 16.
  38. Kurek-Lesik Collection, p. 188-190; see also testimony of Miriam Klein, YVA, 03/4071.
  39. Ephraim Dekel, Survivors of the Sword (Hebrew) (Tel Aviv: Ministry of Defense Publishing House, 1963), pp. 151-156.
  40. Kurek-Lesik Collection, Testimony of Nina E., p. 60, and of Lova L., p. 194.
  41. Testimony of Aliza Penski, YVA, 03/3410.
  42. Kurek-Lesik Collection, testimony of Sister Rosemary Werwinska, pp. 122-123.
  43. Wladyslaw Bartoszewski and Zofia Lewin, eds., Righteous Among the Nations; How Poles Helped the Jews 1939-1945 (London: Earlscourt, 1969), p. 355.
  44. Kurek-Lesik Collection, testimony of Sister Tekla Budnowska, pp. 164-165.
  45. Kuper, At the Edge of the Forest, pp. 125-126.
  46. Kurek-Lesik Collection, testimony of Sister Andrzeja Górska, pp. 300-301.
  47. Ibid., testimony of Sister Jozefa Kolkowska, pp. 202-203.
  48. Testimony of Magdalena Orner, YVA, 03/6745, pp. 14-15.
  49. Testimony of Tamar Lubliner, YVA, 03/1397.
  50. David, A Touch of Earth, p. 60.
  51. Ibid.
  52. Ibid., pp. 94-95.
  53. Kurek-Lesik Collection, testimony of Sister Tekla Budnowska, p. 162.
  54. Ibid., testimony of Nina E., pp. 57-58.
  55. David, A Touch of Earth, pp. 87, 96.
  56. Kurek-Lesik Collection, p. 62.
  57. Ibid., p. 212.
  58. Ibid., testimony of Sister Andrzeja Górska, pp. 301-302.
  59. Testimony of Aliza Penski, pp. 16-17, YVA, 03/3410.
  60. Kurek-Lesik Collection, testimony of Nina E., pp. 54-61.
  61. David, A Touch of Earth, pp. 22, 39-40, 99-101.
  62. Bartoszewski and Lewin, eds., Righteous among the Nations, p. 362.
  63. Kaczmaszyk, Pomoc udzielana Żydom, pp. 1-2, YVA, JM 3636.
  64. Kurek-Lesik Collection. The principled attitude of the mother superior of the Elizabethan convent, Ludwika Małkiewicz, is described on p. 43. Concerning Catholic practice in the matter of baptizing non-Catholic children, see Dequeker, “Baptism and Conversion of Jews in Belgium, 1939-1945,” in Michman, ed., Belgium and the Holocaust, pp. 263-264.
  65. Kurek-Lesik, Gdy Klasztor znaczył życie, pp. 110-117.
  66. Kurek-Lesik Collection, testimony of Miriam Klein, pp. 188-191; see also her testimony in YVA, 03/4071.
  67. Dzieci Holocaustu Mówią, pp. 108-109, 118.
  68. Kurek-Lesik Collection, pp. 254-255.
  69. Ibid., testimony of Sister Olga Abramczuk, pp. 105-106.
  70. Ibid., testimony of Nina E., pp. 60-61.
  71. Testimony of Hannah Shehori (Rosenblatt), YVA, 03/4751.
  72. Kurek-Lesik Collection, testimony of A.S., pp. 114-115.
  73. Testimony of Magdalena Orner, YVA, 03/6745, p. 15.
  74. David, A Touch of Earth, p. 139.
  75. Kurek-Lesik Collection, testimony of Miriam Klein, pp. 188-189, and YVA, 03/4071.
  76. David Kahane, Lvov Ghetto Diary, pp. 148-150; quotation, p. 150.
  77. Testimony of Yonah Altshuler, YVA, 03/5568.
  78. Irit R. Kuper, As Everything Passes (Hebrew) (Tel Aviv: Hakibbutz Hameuhad, 1980), p. 80.
  79. See Kłoczowski, The Religious Orders, p. 239.
  80. Teresa Frącek, “Zgromadzenie Siostr Franciszkanek Rodziny Maryi w latach 1939-1945,” in Kosciól, Katolicki na ziemiach Polski, vol. 10 (Warsaw: ATK), 1981, p. 200, cited in KurekLesik Collection, pp. 158-159.
  81. Kaczmarzyk, Pomoc udzielana Żydom, p. 1.
  82. Kurek-Lesik, Gdy Klasztor znaczył życie, p. 163, n. 95.
  83. Ibid., p. 122.
  84. Kłoczowski, “The Religious Orders and the Jews,” p. 243.
  85. Kurek-Lesik, Gdy Klasztor znaczył życie, p. 127.
  86. Lucian Dobroszycki, Survivors of the Holocaust in Poland (New York: M.E. Sharpe, 1994), pp. 14-18.
  87. Testimony of Irena Sendler concerning the Turkowice convent, YVA, M31/4394.
  88. Testimony of Miriam Klein, ibid., 03/4071; Kurek-Lesik Collection, testimony of Liguria Grenda, pp. 184-186.
  89. Kurek-Lesik Collection, testimony of Sister Tekla Budnowska, p. 162.
  90. Levin, Specje, pp. 174-175.
  91. Zygmunt Zielinski, “Activities of Catholic Orders on Behalf of Jews in Nazi-Occupied Poland,” in Otto Dov Kulka, ed., Judaism and Christianity under the Impact of National Socialism (Jerusalem: Zalman Shazar Center, 1987), p. 391.
  92. Concerning the way the Albertine sisters in Tarnopol placed a Jewish infant with a Christian adoptive family, see Kaczmarzyk, Pomoc udzielana Żydom, p. 16;YVA, JM 3636.
  93. Ibid., p. 13.