Warszawa / Mokotów / 53 Łowicka Street
  • House at 53 Łowicka Street, 2015, photo: A. Barański, Pańska Skórka

  • House at 53 Łowicka Street, 2015, photo: A. Barański, Pańska Skórka

  • Maria Palester and Maria Proner, after the war, photo: family archive, POLIN Museum

  • Maria Palester and Maria Proner with daughters, after the war, photo: family archive, POLIN Museum

Maria Palester

The Palester family lived on Łowicka Street since the 1920s. Out of their affluent intelligentsia neighbours, they were most friendly with the Proners, a family of assimilated Jews. Małgosia and Jasia, the daughters of both families, went to school together and were good friends.

After Germans had entered Warsaw, Henryk Palester lost his job at the Ministry of Health, due to his Jewish origin. His wife, Maria, took up a post at the Health and Social Care Department at the City of Warsaw Board. She worked together with Irena Sendler and organized the ransom operation to release her from Gestapo after she had been imprisoned in 1943. The money, collected by Żegota, was delivered to the Pawiak prison in a backpack by Małgosia, Maria’s daughter.

After the ghetto had been established in 1940, Ms Proner – whose husband, a reserve officer, was taken to captivity – planned to move there to join the rest of her family. Maria Palester convinced her not to do it: “Nobody comes back alive from there”, she used to say. Ms Proner and Jasia remained on the ‘Aryan’ side, supported by their Polish friends.

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