A Catholic Woman Remembers Przemysl
My mother was from Przemysl, so I enjoyed reading a bit of its' history, and Anna Wojtowicz, Jerzy's wife, is a distant cousin of mine. We've both been working on our mutual family tree and her husband, Jerzy, hoped that we would find out what became of his father. While that question has not been answered, at least your article sheds some light on the subject. Thank you! I appreciate the time, effort and work that went into returning to Poland for answers and writing this.
|Isaac + Family|
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I think people's lives are so interesting, that in many cases it IS almost like reading an intense piece of fiction. Your uncle, Isaac/Edward is a prime example. It was emotionally moving to see a picture of him with his wife and four little children, looking happy and fulfilled, and to imagine how he must've felt when he returned home from war to learn that his whole family had been eradicated. I'm amazed that he had the resiliency to start life over again with someone else, that he didn't just curl up into a bitter ball of hate and despair, as many did. Aniela was still relatively young when they married and I'm surprised they didn't have any children of their own, but nevertheless, both of them seemed to make the most of their own, horrible situations and obviously must've found comfort in sharing their mutual burdens. It sounds as though he liked his stepson, Jerzy who obviously needed a father figure. Still, a Polish/Jewish connection must've been a difficult way for both him and Aniela to live. My understanding from my mother's stories, from the era in which she lived in Poland (1919-1949) was that Jews were not generally liked in Przemysl. There was a lot of prejudice against them and probably envy as well. Some were persecuted, especially the orthodox ones that really stood out. My mother was born in Brooklyn and moved back to Poland with her parents when she was 8. She used to tell me about how tough it was to get accepted by her classmates when her parents uprooted her and took her back to the old country. Her new classmates didn't like her because she was a well-to-do American girl (in their eyes) and it was the Jewish girls, who understood ostracism, who welcomed her into their circle and helped her get up to speed in her new school and maintained warm friendships with her until everyone scattered to go to college, so she developed good relationships with Jewish people in Przemysl, but I think that was the exception.
Maybe after the war, anything went. People were just trying to survive and move forward, but prior to the war, Aniela would've had a hard time living in Przemysl, being openly married to a Jewish man, although he tried to become integrated; had a "street name," had a last name that could've just passed for German, and didn't look strikingly Jewish.
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