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Our Lady of Czestochowa medal given to a Polish Jewish woman hiding as a Catholic laborer

Object | Accession Number: 1988.154.2

Religious medal of Our Lady of Częstochowa (also known as the Black Madonna of Częstochowa or Matka Boska Częstochowska), given to Raszka (Rose) Galek in June 1943 by Jan Majewski to help her hide as a Catholic. The medal was made in 1932, and modeled after a revered painting of the Virgin Mary and the baby Christ at the Jasna Góra monastery in Częstochowa, Poland. The medal commemorated the 550th anniversary of the painting’s donation to the church. In November 1940, Raszka, her parents, Moshe and Fela, and her sisters Deana and Sala were confined to the Warsaw ghetto. In April 1943, Raszka’s parents were shot and her sisters were deported to a concentration camp. Raszka later escaped and went into hiding. She received false identity papers for a Polish Catholic named Maria Kowalczyk from the Polish underground. Jan Majewski, a resistance member, hid Raszka in his refugee camp for displaced Polish people, and gave her the medal when she left the camp. The medal had belonged to Jan’s brother, a Catholic priest who was killed in Auschwitz. In June, she was sent to a farm in Krummhardt, Germany for forced labor. Raszka was liberated by US forces in April 1945 and moved to Stuttgart displaced persons (DP) camp. She began working as a liaison between DP camps and the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. She met and married Kurt Braunschweig, a UNRRA employee, and immigrated to the United States in 1947.

Date
received:  1943 June
commemoration:  1932
Geography
received: Warsaw (Poland)
distribution: Czestochowa (Poland)
Language
Polish
Category
Medals
Genre/Form
Religious articles.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Rose Brunswic, in memory of her parents Fela and Moshe Galek and in memory of Jan Majewski
 
Record last modified: 2020-03-09 15:18:47
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn370