"A Time to Heal" (Ecclesiastes 3:3)
The Story of the Children's Home in Otwock, Poland

Halina (Linka) Sztarkman

Halina (Linka) Sztarkman (Lina Kornblum) was born in Warsaw in 1933 to Noah and Andzia Sztarkman. The three were incarcerated in the Warsaw Ghetto, and Noah was deported in the roundup of July 22, 1942. He was never heard from again. Halina and her mother were placed on a wagon heading towards the Umschlagplatz*, where they were to be deported to the death camps. A woman approached the wagon and offered to take Andzia’s place on the wagon. Andzia gave the woman a ring and got off the wagon with Halina. The two then hid, and were thus saved from deportation. Halina’s mother later got in contact with her sister who was a courier for the Shomer Hatzair youth movement in the Polish side of the city. She also had connections with the Polish underground that provided weapons and ammunition to the ghetto. Halina’s aunt found hiding places for Halina and her mother in the Aryan side of Warsaw. Halina’s aunt later perished, most likely during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

In one of the hiding places there were 13 escapees from the ghetto. Halina, who looked like a Polish girl, would leave the hiding place and obtain food and medical help for the people hiding with her. As a result of Halina’s daring actions, all 13 of the individuals in hiding with her survived.

In the spring of 1945 Halina arrived in the children’s home in Otwock, where she met Wladek (Dov) Kornblum. She remained in Poland until 1950, when she immigrated with her mother to Israel.

In Israel Halina was reunited with Wladek and they married.

Halina and Wladek have two daughters and five grandchildren and live in Tel Aviv.

* Umschlagplatz -transfer point in area separating the Warsaw Ghetto from the Polish part of the city. From this location, hundreds of thousands of Jews were deported to extermination camps and concentration camps from the Warsaw Ghetto between July and September 1942 and January and May 1943.

‹‹ Back