The Association of "Children of the Holocaust" in Poland

About the Association

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Presently Association of "Children of the Holocaust" in Poland numbers over 500 persons residing (in 2018) in Poland. We have also some honorary members The headquarters are located in Warsaw. Association has divisions in Kraków, Wroclaw, Łódź and Gdańsk. Our Association has several well-wishers, who have Polish and Jewish roots, including persons living abroad.

In our Association women are in the majority, because during the war it was more difficult to save circumcised boys. As the years go by, number of our members diminishes. At present the oldest among us are in their early 86, the youngest - 68.

Address of the Office in Warsaw:

Association of "Children of the Holocaust" in Poland
Twarda Street 6
00-105 Warsaw, Poland

Phone/fax: (22) 620 82 45
The Main Board:


Vice President
Vice President


Member of the Board
Member of the Board

Member of the Board

Divisions of Association of "Children of the Holocaust" in Poland:

GDAŃSK - Linadia Kurpiewska - President
KRAKÓW - Anna Grygiel-Huryn - President
ŁÓDű - Katarzyna Andrejew - President
WROCŁAW - Irena Gaweł - President

Purposes of the Association:

       The stated purposes of the organization are to create a community of persons who survived the Holocaust and grant them support, to never let the experiences of the Holocaust be forgotten, and to preserve the memory of Jewish life in prewar Poland.

The pertinent goals listed in the Association's statute (Chapter II ┬ž 9) are:
  1. Increasing and disseminating knowledge of Nazi crimes perpetrated during World War II, especially on children and youth of Jewish origin;
  2. Preserving and consolidating the memory of Holocaust victims and of persons who risked their lives in rescuing the persecuted;
  3. Condemning expressions of intolerance, particularly expressions of anti-Semitism in public life;
  4. Organizing various forms of assistance for Association members; and;
  5. Initiating and stimulating attempts by Association members to obtain benefits stemming from legislation valid in the Republic of Poland as well as compensation for moral and material harm suffered during World War II in the wake of national and racial persecution.

Members of the Association

The Association, with headquarters in Warsaw at 12/16 Grzybowski Square, has four regional branches: Gdańsk, Kraków, Łódź, and Wrocław. In the first three months between the founding meeting and the first General Assembly (11 October 1991), the membership doubled from 45 to 90 persons. In late 1995, the Association numbered 500 members, and in early 1999, over 600. Currently, in 2009, the membership is around 700.

Not everyone who learns that such an Association exists decides to join right away. A decision to "come out into the open" is not always easy to take. There are also those who do not know what their origins are and thus will never become members of our organization. Those who only learned the truth in recent years, perhaps from their dying, adoptive parents, approach the Association for support and help to find their families.

Hanna Krall wrote in her book Dowody na istnienie [Proofs of Existence] (1995):

Polish parents of Jewish children are dying in the normal course of events. They found the children more than 50 years ago at a track along which a train traveled, at a roadside where Jews were herded, at the wall of a ghetto, or in the bushes. They sometimes got them from persons who promised they would return but never did.

Polish parents carried a child to church and gave it a Christian name. They brought it up like one of their own and kept silent about its past. Now they are dying. They must all have been around the same age, as the time of death is arriving simultaneously for many. When their last moment was upon them, they wished to tell how it all came about but spoke faintly, of unintelligible matters, passing away in mid-sentence. Some left an overdue, rambling letter or tattered handwritten notes. Fifty-year old Jewish children come to the Jewish Historical Institute with such tattered notes and quotes of rambling words.

Women constitute the overwhelming majority, since circumcised boys were more difficult to save. The eldest among us are in their early 80s, the youngest, 63. For the most part, we come from large towns and cities, since it was easier to conceal a Jewish child in an impersonal environment. Most often official data about dates and places of birth do not coincide with the actual facts, as false identifications had been createdto save lives.

After the war, we went to school and acquired higher education. In the second issue of the Association's Chronicle, Katarzyna Meloch wrote:

We entered schools and universities from forests, cellars, or, for example, straight from farm fields, from tending cattle. We had to make up for the many years of education we had lost. We could not count on any kind of special treatment. No one, outside our circle, knows what price we had to pay for our return to "normal existence."

Among our Association's members are 70 physicians, 40 lawyers, 64 teachers, 60 economists, 35 journalists and editors, and 39 artists-writers, musicians, painters, and actors.

The activities of the Association consist of the following elements:

1. Pursuing efforts to improve the material well-being of "Children of the Holocaust."

Most members have qualified for benefits from the War Veterans Act and have also received German compensation.

2. Providing programs to help members overcome a sense of loneliness and isolation.

Several centers have been opened in Warsaw and other cities for club meetings of Association members who are burdened with the trauma of wartime and postwar experiences and may be living alone, without any family. These centers are frequently the only place where "Children of the Holocaust" can talk about their identity and what they experienced.

A general assembly is traditionally organized once a year, which brings together around 200 persons. This is an enormously important meeting, where for several years group therapy has been offered for members who are unable, to this day, to come to terms with the trauma of the past.

Visits to health centers and holiday excursions (in Poland and Germany) are also organized, made possible by the support of the Maksymilian Kolbe Foundation in Freiburg and the social welfare program of the Union of Jewish Religious Communities. We have also organized trips to Israel.

3. Preserving the memory of the Holocaust, its heroes and victims, and also its torturers and persecutors.

The Association's explicit tasks here include the publication of memoirs from the period of the German occupation. Four books have appeared thus far: three volumes of Children of the Holocaust speak ... and Dark year, dark years (all but the most recent translated into English and German). Association members also publish their experiences individually, produce films, deliver lectures and talks, and organize exhibitions. They also take part in meetings with teachers and school children as part of educational programs carried out by the Association.

Of great importance to the Association is honoring the Righteous Among the Nations-people who risked their lives to save Jews during the Nazi occupation. The years-long efforts by our Association to grant these "Righteous" the status of war veterans have finally been successful.

The Association of "Children of the Holocaust" represents the last generation of those who survived and are the only remaining eyewitnesses of those terrible events. We have the need and obligation to preserve and bequeath to posterity the memory of the life and work of many generations of Jews who lived on Polish territory. The mission of the Jewish children who were saved is to communicate what we experienced, to tell people of the enormous crime of genocide that the Jewish people were made to suffer. The writer Henryk Grynberg noted that it is specifically the children who have proved to be the most credible narrators of the Holocaust, and Aron Appelfeld concurs that the "Children of the Holocaust" are best qualified to talk about it, because for them the Holocaust was the beginning of the world, without any point of reference.

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