Leokadia Jaromirska was a young woman who lived in a suburb of Warsaw. One morning in October 1942 she was on her way to work when she heard the crying of a baby just a few months old. The baby was abandoned near the fence of a monastery. Leokadia took the baby home. The baby was Shifra, the daughter of Golda and Gershon Yunish who had left her there in desperation and hope that she would somehow survive.

Leokadia did not have children of her own. Her husband was a political prisoner and spent years in Auschwitz. Leokadia and little Shifra whom Leokadia named Bogumiła (in Polish loved by God) or Bogusia as a term of endearment endured a lot of hardship during the war.

Years later, Shifra told that what she remembers best was the love and tenderness that her adopted mother poured on her. When the Russians were approaching Warsaw, Leokadia and Shifra had to leave their home and wander about in search of food and shelter. Leokadia’s love for Shifra gave her strength to protect the baby from cold and hunger.

After 3 years, in October 1945, Shifra’s father, Geniek Gershon succeeded in locating her and asked for permission to get her back. There was no choice and Leokadia was forced to part with the child that she loved so much. The mother, Golda Yunish, was murdered in Majdanek. Father and daughter emigrated to Israel.

In the long painful exchange of letters between Shifra and Leokadia during the years to come, Leokadia`s words in one of them were : “A child`s hand around a mother`s neck is the most beautiful necklace and nothing compares to it”.

 

from Yad Vashem website