Zuzanna Mensz’ friends Helka Seid and Mietek Starkiewicz

Zuzanna Mensz’ friends Helka Seid and Mietek Starkiewicz

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This is a photo of my friend from nursing school and the Polish Army in USSR, Helka Seid and her future husband Mietek Starkiewicz. It was taken in 1944.

Helka Seid came from Hrubieszow, a town ca. 100 km east of Lublin, she was in the nursing school with me. She crossed the border in 1939 and the Russians arrested her. Her father was a Bund member and knew Molotov from before the war. He used his influence and she was released from prison and sent to Kazakhstan instead. She lived in a kolkhoz in the backwoods. Because she completed a year or two of a nursing school she passed as a doctor there, she treated everyone. She told me she was on good terms with the people. She later met Mietek Starkiewicz, who'd been in the Anders' Army. He fell ill with typhoid fever and was not able to leave with the army. He stayed in that place in Kazakhstan. That's how they met and they later got married. They were in the First Army. He came from Lwow, from the cadets' school, a background completely different to hers. They had two children, they emigrated to Australia.

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Zuzanna Mensz