„This was a matter of conscience. I could not act in any other way. It was my private method of dealing with the situation”. Maria Winnicka from Warsaw was the daughter of the financier Antoni Jaroszewicz. The first person she hid in her own house during World War II was the renowned Jewish math teacher, Prof. Zygmunt Szczawiński,. During that period, she had to move him from one hiding place to another and on their way to those hiding places they would find themselves in tricky and life-threatening situations. Regrettably, Prof. Szczawiński, was eventually murdered during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising when hiding in a monastery in the Wola neighborhood.
Maria also hid Jewish children in her home with the help of the lady who was the nanny of her own children. Moreover, she nursed sick and deserted children, dressed their wounds, laundered their clothes, taught some of them Polish and even arranged medical care for them in her home. On a number of occasions, she entered the ghetto and under the disguise of her pregnancy smuggled food inside it.
Years after the war, Maria’s son, Jakub, managed to convince her to accept the award of the title of “Righteous Among the Nations”. In an interview that he granted in April 2004, he said: “We are all born equal but with the potential for intolerance intensified by the stupidity of adults. Education and permanent efforts at self-improvement can be a cure. This notion became my guiding light for years to come. This is also the reason why I wanted my mother to receive the award. She would never ever try to get the award on her own”.
On February 2013, Yad Vashem granted the tile of “Righteous Among the Nations” to Maria Winnicka
From Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews