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The Bolsheviks killed my mother's family
Marek Edelman Social activist
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[Q] Rodzina nie była z Warszawy?

No, ojciec był z Warszawy w zasadzie, bo mieszkał w tym samym mieszkaniu w którym mieszkał przed pierwszą wojną światową, a matka była z Homla.

[Q] Repatriowali się do Polski?

Jak bolszewicy zabili wszystkich braci mamy i rodziców, to on jej powiedział... bo oni mieszkali - ja już to opowiadałem sto razy - bo oni mieszkali naprzeciwko parku Paszkiewicza. W parku Paszkiewicza stał pomnik Poniatowskiego wywieziony z Warszawy. Nudne to jest jak flaki z olejem, już to jest dziesięć razy opowiadane. No i jak przyszli bolszewicy, kiedy Lenin powiedział, że eserów będziemy wsadzać, że będziemy wykonywali program eserów, a eserów będziemy wsadzać do więzień, ale do więzień nie warto było wsadzać, więc lepiej ich było zabijać. A mamy bracia byli związani chyba z Eserem, tak mi się wydaje. Przyszli tam rano bolszewicy, wyprowadzili wszystkich do parku Paszkiewicza - tam był gdzieś mur podobno - i wszystkich dwunastu braci... A mama jedyna dziewczynka szła w środku, za ręce oni wszyscy szli i jakiś taki rosyjski żołnierz, który jej powiedział: "dziewuszka udzieraj!" i puścił ją. I ona uciekła i tak zostało. To wszystko z opowieści rodzinnych, ja przy tym nie byłem.

[Q] A matka nazywała się z domu?

Percowska. A co dziadek robił nie wiem. A co babcia robiła? Pewno babcia hodowała tych trzynaściorga dzieci, jak sobie wyobrażam.

[Q] Your family wasn't from Warsaw?

Well, my father was essentially from Warsaw because he lived in the same apartment that he'd lived in before the First World War, while my mother was from Homla.

[Q] They repatriated to Poland?

When the Bolsheviks killed all of my mother's brothers and her parents, he told her... because they lived - I've already told this story 100 times - they lived opposite Paszkiewicz Park. There was a statue of Poniatowski in Paszkiewicz Park that had been brought there from Warsaw. This is so boring, I'm telling this story for the tenth time. So when the Bolsheviks came, after Lenin had said that SR members were going to be imprisoned, that we'll carry out an SR programme, we'll lock them up in prison although it wasn't worth locking them up, so it's better to just kill them. My mother's brothers were involved with SR, I think. The Bolsheviks turned up in the morning and led everyone into Paszkiewicz Park - apparently there was a wall there somewhere - and all 12 of the brothers were walking with my mother, the only girl, in the middle. They were all holding hands as they walked, and some Russian soldier said, 'Little girl, run!' and let her go. So she ran away and that's what happened. This is all from family stories, I wasn't there.

[Q] And your mother's maiden name?

Percowska. I don't know what my grandfather did. My grandmother? She was probably rearing those 13 children, that's what I imagine, anyway.

Marek Edelman (1919-2009) was a Jewish-Polish political and social activist and a noted cardiologist. He was the last surviving leader of the 1943 uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto. Following the Second World War, he took an active part in domestic and international politics, dedicating himself to fighting for justice and peace.

Listeners: Joanna Klara Agnieszka Zuchowska Anka Grupinska Joanna Szczesna

Joanna Klara Agnieszka 'Aga' Zuchowska, urodzona 20 stycznia 1938. Ojciec zginal w Katyniu. Po wojnie zamieszkala w Lodzi. Studia ukonczyla w 1960 r. a specjalizacje z chorób wewnetrznych w 1973 r. Doktorat obronila we Wroclawiu. Pracowala z Markiem Edelmanen przez 15 lat. W 1982 r. wyjechala do Algerii. Wrócila do Polski w 1985 r. i mieszka obecnie w Lodzi.

Joanna Klara Agnieszka 'Aga' Zuchowska was born 20 January 1938. Her father was killed in the Katyń massacre. After the war, she moved from Warsaw to Lódz. She obtained a degree in medicine in 1960, qualifying as a specialist in internal medicine in 1973. Dr Zuchowska worked with Marek Edelman for 15 years. In 1982 she left Poland for Algeria where she remained for the next three years, returning to Poland in 1985. She currently lives in Lódz.

Anka Grupinska ukonczyla filologie angielska na UAM w Poznaniu. Wspólpracowala z poznanskimi pismami podziemnymi, wraz z innymi zalozyla i wydawala dwumiesiecznik "Czas Kultury". W latach 1988-1989 przebywala w Izraelu opracowujac wspomnienia ocalalych z Zaglady. W latach 1991-1993 pracowala jako attaché kulturalny w ambasadzie polskiej w Tel Awiwie. Od 1996 mieszka w Polsce. Anka Grupinska specjalizuje sie w tematyce stosunków polsko-zydowskich. Publikuje ksiazki (m. in. Wydawnictwo Literackie, Zydowski Instytut Historyczny, Twój Styl), artykuly prasowe (m. in. "Tygodnik Powszechny", "Rzeczpospolita"), realizuje projekty wystawiennicze. Jest takze koordynatorem miedzynarodowego projektu "Swiadek zydowskiego wieku" (archiwizowanie pamieci o zydowskiej przedwojennej Polsce), prowazi autorska audycje radiowa "O Zydach i o Polakach tez" i uczy warszawskich studentów sztuki czytania i pisanie tekstów literackich.

Anka Grupinska studied English at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland. She wrote for Poznan’s underground publications and was herself one of the founding publishers of the bi-monthly Czas Kultury. She spent 1988 and 1989 in Israel compiling reminiscences of Holocaust survivors. From 1991 to 1993, she held the post of Cultural Attache at the Polish Embassy in Tel Aviv. She moved back to Poland in 1996 and now writes books on Jewish subjects, mainly dealing with the history of the Warsaw ghetto. She is also a freelance journalist for Tygodnik Powszechny. Anka Grupinska is the director of the Centropa Foundation project in Poland (oral history project) called “The Witness of the Jewish Century¿, presents her own radio programme, “Of Jews and of Poles too¿, and teaches creative writing and oral history in Collegium Civitas and SWPS in Warsaw.

Joanna Szczesna, dziennikarka "Gazety Wyborczej", autorka - wraz z Anna Bikont - biografia polskiej noblistki "Pamiatkowe rupiecie, przyjaciele i sny Wislawy Szymborskiej". Od lat 70-tych zwiazana z opozycja demokratycznaw Polsce, wspólpracowniczka Komitetu Obrony Robotników, wspóltwórczyni prasy niezaleznej w Polsce: redaktorka "Biuletynu Informacyjnego KOR-u", Agencji Prasowej "Solidarnosc" i "Tygodnika Mazowsze".

Joanna Szczesna is a journalist writing for Gazeta Wyborcza. Together with Anna Bikont, she’s the author of Pamiatkowe rupiecie, przyjaciele i sny Wislawy Szymborskiej (The Recollected Flotsam, Friends and Dreams of Wislawa Szymborska) a biography of Wislawa Szymborska, the Polish winner of the Noble Prize for Literature. Since the 1970s, Joanna Szczesna has been involved with the democratic opposition movement in Poland, active in the Worker’s Defence Committee (KOR), the co-founder of the independent press in Poland: editor of KOR’s Information Bulletin, Solidarnosc Press Agency and Tygodnik Mazowsze.

Tags: Warsaw, Poland, The Socialist Revolutionary Party, Cecylia Percowska

Duration: 1 minute, 49 seconds

Date story recorded: December 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008