Warsaw, 19 February 1996

I met Ms Anna Kowalska in 1935 [?] in my workplace, at the Health and Welfare Department. She has done a great service to the nursing community. In addition to a strong commitment to her professional tasks, she also showed great interest in social issues. Whenever humans were in need of rescue and support, she was always there. Working with her on many occasions, I could witness her attitude towards the Polish-Jewish relations. Many years before the war she openly and bravely stood up for the Jewish nation whenever it was needed. When the war broke out, she immediately started helping the persecuted in the autumn of 1939.

During our years-long professional acquaintance, I connected with her because she was a courageous person, ready to rescue those in need. I know that for several years during the occupation, when she was the head of the Health Center at Puławska Street 97, she risked her life and that of her family by employing Dr. Edward Ferber, having provided him with the proper documents which were obligatory at the time. I also know that Dr. Ferber was a frequent guest at the Kowalskis’ apartment, where on many occasions he received financial aid and kind support. I often visited the Kowalskis’ place, where I encountered Ms Zawadzka, Prof. Hirszfeld’s cousin. Anna [Kowalska] hired her as a maid in order to keep her safe.

In the summer of 1942 her work colleague, head nurse in the ghetto named Ala Gołąb-Grynberg, left her daughter Rami (?) and foster child Dalia (?) under Anna’s care, asking her to place the girls in a hopefully safe place. Anna took both girls to Chotomów, to a home run by the Sisters of the Family of Mary.

All of the people whom I have mentioned survived the war. It is hard to say why they did not make any written statements on how Anna rescued them. Mrs Grynberg died in the ghetto, her husband did not survive the war either, and the little girls did not know the truth.

Why didn’t the adults reach out? It is true that many of those who had been rescued immediately left Poland, and some people who remained here did not want to recall their dreadful experiences from the occupation. While starting a new life, they often wished to “erase” their tragedy from memory.

Irena Sendler,

head of the children’s section in “Żegota,”
recognized as Righteous [Among the Nations] in 1965, honorary citizen of the State of Israel