Irena Wygodzka in Zakopane

This is a picture of me, taken on holiday in Zakopane in 1955.

When we arrived in Poland in 1947 we were forced to change our personal data. The authorities explained that first and last names should be Polish and not other. Other meant Jewish. There was even an ordinance about this.

My husband changed his name to Stanislaw and I - to Irena. As the names of my parents I put: Barbara and Henryk Lewicki, instead of Beitner, and of my husband's: Barbara, nee Balicka, and Ignacy.

My place of birth was changed from 'in Magdeburg' to 'in Sosnowiec.' It was all falsified like this in all documents. Only now did I manage to change the data through the court, it took me two years.

In Warsaw at first we lived with my cousin, Natalia Maskalan. When we arrived, she helped us. She was living with her husband in some house in Mokotow.

By the end of 1947 we received a room in a building belonging to the Ministry of Culture. My husband started working for the Ministry of Culture then.

When Ewa was about to be born, that was in 1955, we got an apartment in a building belonging to LOT [Polish Airlines] at number 9 Warynskiego Street. We were there until the end of our stay in Poland.

My husband was working at the Ministry of Culture for some time, later only at home. All he'd do was write. I don't remember when he stopped working at the Ministry.

He wrote by hand, later typed it on a typewriter. He asked me to proofread his writing, I did the editing, later typed it on the typewriter. And after he submitted it at the publishing house, I'd do the subsequent revisions, which he checked. He usually agreed with me.

I often threw out lots of things, because he sometimes repeated some things.

At first I worked at 'Przeglad samochodowy.’ I collected materials about automobiles in the office. I later worked at 'Ksiazka i Wiedza,’ doing technical revisions, after all I didn't have a proper education to write texts by myself.

I worked until the birth of my son. In 1952 I gave birth to Adam. Later to my daughter, Ewa. She is three years younger than Adam. Almost to a day.

They're all born on the 13th of January. My husband on the 13th, Ewa on the 13th, Adam on the 14th.

Photos from this interviewee