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Alicja Ala Kalwari, a Jewish woman living on the Aryan side of Warsaw, holds her newborn baby Ryszard.

Photograph | Not Digitized | Photograph Number: 33813

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    Alicja Ala Kalwari, a Jewish woman living on the Aryan side of Warsaw, holds her newborn baby Ryszard.
    July 1944
    Warsaw, Poland
    Variant Locale
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Alice and Richard Hemar

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Alice and Richard Hemar
    Source Record ID: Collections: 2006.95.1

    Keywords & Subjects

    Photo Designation
    RESCUERS & RESCUED -- Poland

    Administrative Notes

    Alice Hemar (born Alicja Ala Kalwari) is the daughter of Szymon Kalwari and Helena Haber Kalwari. She was born on May 25, 1920 in Warsaw, Poland where her father worked both as an accountant and as an importer of typewriters. Her mother cared for Ala and her younger sister Zosia (b. 1922) and later owned a candy store. In 1935 the Kalwari family moved to Katowice and later to Krakow. In Katowice, Ala met her future husband, Henryk Wladyslaw Abrahamer. They married in November 1939, shortly after the start of World War II. The young couple returned to Warsaw and joined Ala's family, but they soon had to move to the Warsaw ghetto. They supported themselves mainly by selling off their prewar possessions. Wladek, Ala's husband, worked outside the ghetto at the Luftwaffe base and had some opportunities to barter clothing for food. Szymon Kalwari died of typhus in January 1942 at the age of 51. His wife Helena was caught during the "kociol" (cauldron) action on September 6, 1942 and deported to Treblinka, where she was murdered. She was 46 years old. Ala, Wladek and Zosia remained together. Ala worked in the Toebbens workshop. Despite having a work permit, on November 11, 1942 she was taken to the "Umschlagplatz" and forced into a cattle wagon. When the door closed, she noticed an older relative who urged Ala to jump out of the train. He helped cut the barbed wire in the small window and push her out. Luckily the train was not yet going at full speed; Ala landed in a pile of snow. At dusk she walked towards dim lights and suddenly noticed a group of Jews marching back to the ghetto from slave labor. She managed to blend in and returned to her husband and sister in the ghetto. Wladek immediately decided that they had to leave the ghetto. He contacted a friendly Polish officer in the underground Armia Krajowa who purchased three birth certificates of deceased people from the church archives in the Grochow district of Warsaw. On November 26, 1942 Ala, Zosia and Wladek left the ghetto. Ala became Jadwiga Kazimiera Ziebinska, her husband was Henryk Ziebinski and Zosia took the name of Eugenia Janiszewska. Wladek and Ala lived in the Praga district of Warsaw, and Zosia moved to Koszykowa Street in Warsaw. She pretended to support herself by knitting sweaters, but in reality she knitted and unraveled the same sweater over and over again. On July 2, 1944 Ala gave birth to a son Ryszard and registered him at the Roman-Catholic Parish of the Sacred Heart. Wladek and Ala felt quite lonely in the Praga district and after a few weeks decided to join Zosia. They crossed the bridge over the Vistula River a few days before the outbreak of the Warsaw uprising on August 1, 1944. After the uprising was suppressed at the end of August, the three adults and the baby were taken out of Warsaw to the Pruszkow transit camp. Later, they moved to Milanowek where they were liberated by the Soviet Army on January 1945. Ala and her small family moved to Wladek's old apartment in Katowice. They met Zygmunt Perutz, Wladek's childhood friend, who had survived in the USSR. Zosia and Zygmunt soon married, and their daughter Helen was born in Katowice. The two families left Poland in 1947 and settled in Stuttgart, while waiting for US visas. Ala gave birth to another son, Peter, and Zosia had a second daughter, Joanne. In 1961 both the Hemar and Perutz families arrived in the US and settled in Los Angeles.
    Record last modified:
    2015-04-28 00:00:00
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