- Contains a photograph; rectangular form with scalloped edges; black and white image of group of women posing outdoors, with trees in background.
- Collection Creator
- Stefania Staszewska
Stefania Staszewska (1923-2004) was born Stefania Szochur on 1 October 1923 in Warsaw, Poland to Samuel and Masza (née Szpanin) Szochur. Her father worked as a shop salesman and was active in the Bund party. He lost his job in 1936 and then worked for Philips selling radio parts in Warsaw. Stefania was active in the Polish Socialist Party as a teenager.
After the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, Samuel wanted to flee Warsaw, but Masza didn’t want to leave her mother behind. Samuel went by himself to Białystok in late fall 1939. He was in contact with Stefania and her mother until his last letter dated 10 June 1940. Around that time he was deported by the Soviets to a forced-labor camp where he perished.
Stefania and her mother remained in the Warsaw ghetto, where Masza hid in a basement to avoid deportations. Stefania worked in the Oschman-Leszcynski workshop which refurbished military uniforms. In summer 1942 Masza was deported to Treblinka where she perished. Stefania was selected for forced-labor and remained in the ghetto. She became active in the Jewish Fighting Organization (Zydowska Organizacja Bojowa, Z.O.B.). On 19 April 1943, the day the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising began, Stefania was deported to the Poniatowa labor camp. With the help of two Polish women, Anna Arkari and Marysia Grzybowska, who were hiding a Jewish boy in Warsaw, she escaped the labor camp in July 1943. Stefania was then able to obtain a false birth certificate through her ghetto drama instructor Klima Fuswerk. Stefania survived in Warsaw under the false-identity of Zofia Bartoszewska and worked as a maid. She fled with her employer’s family, the Parnowskas, in December 1944 to Poronin where she worked as a cook in an orphanage.
After liberation, Stefania studied acting in Warsaw. She married Grzegorz Gershon Staszewski in 1946. Their daughter Dorota was born on 27 May 1947. Stefania’s husband died in the early 1950s and she married Adam Heldenberg Kulik. Their daughter Maria was born on 12 December 1954. After the death of her second husband, she later married Szymon Balbin. Stefania had a successful career as a theatre actress in Poland.
Rights & Restrictions
- Conditions on Access
- There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
- Conditions on Use
- Material(s) in this collection may be protected by copyright and/or related rights. You do not require further permission from the Museum to use this material. The user is solely responsible for making a determination as to if and how the material may be used.
- Holder of Originals
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
- Legal Status
- Permanent Collection
- The photograph was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum by Stefania Staszewska-Balbin in 2002.
- Record last modified:
- 2023-10-27 10:16:35
- This page:
Also in Stefania Staszewska-Balbin collection
Contains materials donated by Stefania Staszewska-Balbin documenting her family's experiences during the Holocaust. Some of these materials may be combined into a single collection in the future.
The collection documents the Holocaust-era experiences of Stefania Staszewska, originally of Warsaw, Poland, including wartime photographs of Stefania living in Warsaw under the false-identity of Zofia Bartoszewska. Pre-war family photographs include depictions of Stefania with her father, Samuel Szochur, 1930; Stefania with her aunt and two cousins, circa 1934; and group portrait of students and teachers from the Jewish Middle school “Szkola Powszechna nr. 69” located on Plac Parysowski in Warsaw, during their field trip to Plock in 1934. The dedication on the back of the photograph reads: “ Dear Stefa, how awful is this photograph for me. I cannot imagine that all these dear faces, children, are gone. From all these children only you Stefa and me exist. For them we must continue living and build a new generation. We have to give the world new and healthy children. We have to show them that we Jews will always exist and there is no such force to annihilate us. Take care of yourself, Stefa, study if you want to, but the most important is to keep your head up. Believe in your star – it is still shining.” Wartime photographs include two photobooth portraits of Stefania needed for her false identification card, 1943; Stefania under her false-identity posing with Ewa Parnowska, 1944; and three photographs of Stefania under her false-identity working in a Polish orphanage in Poronin, Poland, 1945. Also included is a document affirming Stefania’s real identity after the war, 1946.