„Janka was firm and strict,” recalls Stefania Grodzieńska. “[…] exceptionally honest, courageous and obliging. Engaged in conspiratorial activity, she worked for the central liaison service of the Home Army ‘2nd division’ [Section II – Intelligence].
Unlike most Jews, Janina Rechtleben-Wojciechowska did not move into the ghetto, despite official orders issued by the occupational power. The room she sublet on Filtrowa Street was in fact a secret intelligence safe house where arms, money and Jews were hidden.
Fryderyk Jarosy was amongst those who found shelter there. A theatre director, master of ceremonies, actor and writer of Austro-Hungarian origin, he had been the idol of pre-war Polish cabarets. He did not sign the Reichslist. Arrested on 24 October 1939, he fled while being transported to interrogation. Fryderyk knew Janina before the war – her father was the owner of a literary agency to which Jarosy submitted a number of scripts.
“In the envelope, there was a joker card from the small pack of cards for playing solitaire that Fryderyk had once got as a gift from us […] on the card, he wrote ‘68, app. 33’,” Grodzieńska recalls the moment she discovered her friend’s new hideout.
Jarosy–known as Franciszek Nowaczyk during the German occupation–taught camouflage techniques to the escapees from the ghetto – how to walk the streets with one’s head up and a confident look in one’s eyes. He also instructed them on how to apply make-up.