Warszawa / Ochota / 70 Filtrowa Street
  • Tenement building at 70 Filtrowa Street, 2015, photo: A. Barański, Pańska Skórka

  • Plaque on the façade of the tenement building at 70 Filtrowa Street, 2015, photo: A. Barański, Pańska Skórka

  • Arbeitskarte (employee’s card), wartime, photo: family archive, POLIN Museum

  • Zbigniew Zieliński, Ryszard’s father, photo: family archive, POLIN Museum

  • Paullina Berek, photo: family archive, POLIN Museum

  • Ryszard Zieliński, photo: M. Glinicki, 2008, POLIN Museum

The Zieliński Family

“‘Did you hear the steps in the courtyard?’, asked Paulina all of a sudden. Paulina, Kazik and I were at home alone, our parents were out playing bridge with the neighbours”, recalls Ryszard Zieliński. “She slid the table top: ‘Kazik, hop in!’, she ordered. He hid under the window sill. There was a loud banging on the door. The Germans. Looking for the father. Had they found Kazik, he would have been killed on the spot.

Kazimierz and Paulina Berek had been hiding at the Zielińskis’ apartment since 1943. They escaped from the ghetto thanks to Mr Zieliński who was working for their relatives. Paulina adopted the name Józefa Bogucka. ‘The landlady’s friend’, they would introduce her. Kazimierz had very Semitic looks, therefore he rarely left the apartment. “Jasia, their daughter, who was my age, was hiding on Ogrodowa Street. I used to be their go-between, I delivered their letters”, says Ryszard.

“He would tell jokes, she would sing joyful songs. I was wondering how they could be so cheerful. They lost their families, they were apart from their daughter… They might have been making a special effort so that we did not feel their presence was a burden.

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