It could not have happened – Ewelina Lipko-Lipczyńska, Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski
Ewelina Lipko-Lipczyńska (née Szymańska) spent the summer of 1939 in her family home in Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski. Her father Jan (just like the late mother Wiktoria) were highly valued teacher in the Joachim Chreptowicz Secondary School. The school was only 150 meters from the Szymański family’s house.
It was September when the war broke out. Ewelina Lipko-Lipczyńska and her father stayed at home; the address – Polna 52 has been inscribed in many people’s memory. They visited the house and thus survived the occupation time … “the insiders used to call the house – Papa Szymański’s Pension ” – wrote Tadeusz Farbisz in a letter to Ewelina Lipko-Lipczyńska after the war.
The building exists to this day, only its interior’s appearance has changed – says Lucjan Stojek, who began working at the Joachim Chreptowicz Secondary School in 1957. There he met Ewelina Lipko-Lipczyńska.
Throughout the war, about 50 people were in and out our house, they lived with us for different periods of time or received immediate help. There were also those who lived with for the whole war time. Most of those rescued were Jews (…) There were also Poles sought after by the Gestapo – Ewelina Lipko-Lipczyńska’s memoirs are quoted by Urszula Heba, a Polish language teacher at the Joachim Chreptowicz Secondary School.
Ewelina saved her school friend Róża Rosenman from the Ostrowiec ghetto. In order to legalize her stay in the house, she had false documents made for her – she passed as a Mohammedan religion follower. Ewelina Lipko-Lipczyńska’s brother-in-law from Eastern Borderlands helped in arranging the false identity.
Ewelina and her father also saved Cyrla Rakocz, a mother with two children. The memories show that sometimes even 25 people were in the house in 52 Polna Street at the same time.
That was unbelievable. This could not happen, it was impossible that for the long 5 years, under the German staff’s nose, right next to the barracks packed with German soldiers, in front of the neighbours – Ewelina Lipko-Lipczyńska wrote many years after.
How did they survive the war without German’s inspection. How come ths secred was not divulged? Probably a a meteorological station managed by Jan Szymański was the asnwer. Local residents believed that that was reason not be interested in the building under the special supervission of the Germans. – explains Dr. Tomasz Domański from the Institute of National Remembrance.
Jan Szymański was not only a teacher, but also a well-known social worker. He and his daughter Ewelina worked at the PPS WRN (Polish Socialist Party Freedom Equality Independence) which supported his underground activities during the war time. Thanks to the organization’s support it was possible to publish underground press and pay remuneration to teachers employed to conduct secret, secondary school classes in Ostrowiec. About 50 people participated in the classes. The actor Dobiesław Damięcki was involved in publishing the underground press. Damięcki would hides from the Germans who issued arrest warrants. Like many other Poles and Jews, Damięcki ans his wife Irena Górska-Damięcka found shelter at the Suchorowski house. Afterwards, the couple lived with another family in the nearby Podszkodziu. Their sons were born there: Maciej and Damian. Dobiesław was also involved in making false Aryan documents for rescued Jews.
After the war, Ewelina Lipko-Lipczyńska taught at the Joachim Chreptowicz Secondary School, since 1962 she worked in a school in Warsaw. in 1966 she was awarded the “Righteous Among the Nations” medal. She was presented the distinction in Israel. After returning to Poland, she had problems with the communist apparatus, she was involved in the fight against censorship and state-supported anti-Semitism. As a result, she was dismissed and thus unable to work at school. “In 1969, I was forced to renounce the citizenship of People’s Poland in order to be able to emigrate,” writes Ewelina Lipko-Lipczyńska in her memoirs. She arrived in Sweden in 1969 as a stateless person. In 1996 she received the honorary citizenship of Israel.