„It’s hot!,” that is what Magdalena Gross heard each time unexpected guests turned up at the house on Zakopiańska Street. The safe phrase meant that she could not come downstairs and had to stay in the attic. The sculptor moved into the Rendzner family house from the Żabiński family villa at the ZOO, and she stayed there for a year and a half.
Jan Rendzner was an electric engineer; he chose Saska Kępa as the house location due to its suburban feel. During the German occupation, he resided there with his wife Janina and daughter Zofia, a graduate of painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow. In her memoir, Zofia recalled the following incident.
One day, Germans turned up at the house all of a sudden. They looked for men – all males from the neighbourhood were to be deported. When they entered, Janina instantly arranged the following scene: Magdalena stood in the middle of the living room in worker’s garb, finishing a sculpture – which was in fact already finished – to which Janina herself was posing. The Germans got interested in the artistic process and asked detailed questions. When they left, Magdalena and Janina looked at each other and their legs gave way – they sank onto the floor at the very same instance.