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The big disaster

RELATED STORIES

Ransom from the Jewish Community Council
Marek Edelman Social activist
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Have I ever told you about how we arrested the son of the leader of the Jewish Community Council?

[Q] Tell us.

We demanded ransom from the Jewish Community Council, we wanted them to give us 250,000 złoties. But they refused. So we arrested his son, he was 14 or 13 years old, and took him back with us. He didn't come to any harm, there were children there, too, who he could play with and we told him to write to his father saying he's in a cell - it was winter - with his feet in icy water and that he's about to get pneumonia unless his daddy pays up. The first letter didn't help so then he said they've stripped me of my underpants and have thrown everything into the water. The daddy gave in and sent us the money so his son went home. I wonder whether any of them are still alive because the Germans later killed the father. That's the kind of thing we got away with.

Jakśmy aresztowali syna przewodniczącego gminy żydowskiej, nie opowiadałem nigdy?

[Q] Opowiadaj.

Żądaliśmy haraczu od gminy żydowskiej, chcieliśmy 250 tysięcy złotych od niej. A oni nie. Tośmy aresztowali syna jego, miał 14 lat, 13 lat i wzięliśmy go do siebie. Źle mu się nie powodziło, tam były dzieci też, bawił się z nimi i kazaliśmy mu pisać listy do ojca, że siedzi w komórce, była zima, trzyma nogi w lodowatej wodzie i zaraz będzie miał zapalenie płuc, jeżeli tatuś nie zapłaci. Po pierwszym liście nic nie pomogło, to on powiedział, rozebrali mnie z majtek i wszystko do wody wsadzili. Tatuś pękł i dał pieniądze. I synek poszedł do domu. Ciekawe czy ktoś z nich żyje, bo tego ojca zabili potem Niemcy. Takie numery odwalaliśmy.

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: Anka Grupinska Joanna Klara Agnieszka Zuchowska Joanna Szczesna

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 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.

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: Jewish Community Council, Germans

Duration: 1 minute, 15 seconds

Date story recorded: December 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008