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Kazimiera Banach Justynowa

Mierzen, Poland

Kazimiera was born to Roman Catholic parents in the town of Mierzen. After graduating from a teacher's college in Staniatki, she married Wincenty Justyna, a secondary school teacher. The couple settled in the small industrial city of Piotrkow Trybunalski and raised three children, Jerzy (a boy), Danuta and Maria. Kazimiera worked as a school teacher.

1933-39: With their combined incomes the Justynas were able to buy a plot of land and build a house. The Germans invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, and four days later, German troops streamed into Piotrkow. One month into the occupation, the Germans divided the city into a section for the non-Jewish Poles and a ghetto for the Jews. Only a few weeks after the occupation, Kazimiera joined the resistance movement.

1940-44: Kazimiera's house became a contact point and shelter for resistance fighters in the Polish Home Army [Armia Krajowa]. When the Germans liquidated the Jewish ghetto in 1942, Kazimiera hid the Szwarcs--a fellow teacher who was Jewish and her two daughters, friends of Maria and Danuta. Kazimiera used her contacts in the resistance to get the Scwarcs false IDs. In 1944 Kazimiera was arrested by the Gestapo, tortured, and deported to Germany, first to the Ravensbrueck concentration camp later on to the Bergen-Belsen camp.

In April 1945 Kazimiera was liberated at Bergen-Belsen. After the war, she went to Sweden to recover from typhus, and then returned to Piotrkow Trybunalski.

 

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