Rose's Story

My mother, Rose Silberberg Skier, tells the miraculous story of how she survived the Holocaust

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Mrs. Cicha

The following is a translation of several letters about Mrs. Cicha, which was forwarded to me by my cousin, Goldie Wachsman Maxwell, Aunt Sara's daughter.

Here's an exerpt from the email she sent me:

Dear Mark,
Hope you are well and getting some sleep -- I gather you are
transcribing after work and it's a time consuming effort.
I've been tracking
each installment and am sending you some relevant information about Stanislawa
Cicha. These letters were originally in Polish and I had them translated by an
archivist at Yad Vashem who was born in Lvov and educated in Poland. The English
is quite good but not perfect.
One letter from Mrs. Biesam--(I don't know if
your mother's story takes her experience into account. Mrs. Biesam was in the
bunker too, where she discovered she was pregnant--after 11 years of
childlessness. Already widowed, she had a miscarriage in the bunker, my mother
had to serve as "midwife." Hygiene being less than perfect in that bunker, Mrs.
Biesam became infected and had to be seen by a doctor and then hospitalized.
Four weeks later the bunker was discovered)--refers to Cicha's courage and her
right to the status of Righeteous Gentile. The other letters are from Halina
Furgalinska, a friend of Cicha's, who describes her last days and her final
request to be buried with a picture of my mother. There are numerous references
to Mrs. Rozia, and I think that is your mother. I also have a few letters
written by Cicha herself.


Letter of Ms. Regina Biesam from Hertzliya to Mrs. Wachsman
November 30, 1963
Dear Mrs. Wachsman!
Let me inform you that I forwarded the article concerning Mrs. Cicha to the newspaper. Enclosed please find a copy of the article. I wanted to mail you a clip from this newspaper, but I sent to Mrs. Cicha a month ago. then I received a letter from her telling me that the newspaper was confiscated in Warsaw. She asked for another clip because she would like to use it for a kind of rents. She told me that she had mailed you a newspaper from Poland with her story written by Mr. Feder, Fela Katz’s brother-in-law [¼]
[omitted irrelevant text. – MSh.]

[Text of the article copied by Regina Biesam for Mrs. Wachsman]
Lately, it is being much written and spoken on the noble Poles that saved Jews during the occupation.
To their bevy belongs also Mrs. Stanis_awa Cicha from Sosnowiec (Dzielnicza street 29), who risked her life hiding in her dwelling 16 Jews. I was among the hidden. It happened in 1943 when a general deportation of Jews took place. My husband has already been taken away. I survived by miracle because Mrs. Stanis_awa Cicha sheltered me. When I found myself in her apartment, I learned that I wasn’t the only one whom this noble lady saved. Everyone who came at night and knocked at the window of her apartment found his or her asylum. Some of the Jews protested against a large quantity of the people, which could cause their give-away. Mrs. Cicha answered them that human beings want to live. She was secretly buying ration cards. She did her best that we would not suffer from hunger. One day I fell badly ill. I had sepsis after an accident. At night she took me to a confidential physician that after examination at once referred me to a hospital for operation. We were running out of time. Mrs. Cicha procured for me the Aryan papers.
During my stay at the hospital this woman skated on very thin ice visiting me and bringing me food that I would recover as soon as possible. It lasted for about two months because I had post-operational complications. Some time later, my hide was revealed. The Gestapo arrested 7 persons together with Mrs. Cicha. The rest of the people hid in the next room under the floor. Next day, they came out of this hide. Nowadays, part of the survivors live in America and in Germany. Mrs. Cicha went through real hell; she was in camps. It is a miracle that that after all the tortures she is still alive. She survived owing to our evidence that we terrorized her and therefore she had to shelter us though she wanted to inform the Gestapo about our hide. The Germans sent her to Ravensbr_ck. Until now her health is destroyed.
She fully deserves the right to be recognized as Righteous among the Nations in order to reward her for her noble bearing during the war, for saving the Jews while risking her life owing to which she experienced so much.
Regina Biesam
Nof-Yam 12

Letter of unknown person to Mrs. Wachsman notifying her on Mrs. Cicha’s death
Dear Mrs. Sala,
I take the liberty to address to you like this because through all the talks with Mrs. Cicha you became very dear to me and I feel as if you were Mrs. Cicha’s daughter as I heard so many warm words about you during her last moments. I must inform you about Mrs. Cicha’s death. She passed away on October 24, 1980. We lost a woman with great heart whom we loved very much and who was and still is very close to our hearts and left in them wound that do not close up. Until now I cannot stop crying because I lost a great friend, a life guide, a very intimate person. I read to Mrs. Cicha your letters; you guessed right that she was unwell. Right after your leave she was unwell, she caught cold and kept on suffering from flu. I took Mrs. Cicha to the best private physician; it was differently – sometimes better, sometimes worse. We fully supported her. She would come for breakfast and stay till the evening or run the house. Later on, she complained on pains in her left side. The doctor said it was intestinal. Meanwhile, arose sciatica, acute joint pain after those camps that she went through. Because of the pain, she couldn’t lie, sit or walk. To diminish her sufferings, we massaged her with ointments, etc. Later on, her condition deteriorated. I brought home a surgeon. He said he would try an operation. We prepared blood, taken all necessary examination; it should have been an operation under local anesthesia, but in the last minute Mrs. Cicha changed her mind. Her health condition deteriorated, she was unable to get up, had problems with the stool and suffered from acute pain. I made her analgesic injections twice a day and pills in the meanwhile. Then came problems with swallowing, she ate less as after meals she suffered from acute pain and screamed day and night. I was doing my best trying to save Mrs. Cicha. I lived through her disease and her death as I could. It was so terrible that I didn’t look a human being, until now I cannot get over. I became very attached and couldn’t think quietly about what had to come. Her death was horrible because she died of hunger, she didn’t eat for 10 days, and she couldn’t swallow liquids. She lost consciousness half an hour before she died. She seized me by my neck when I leaned over her; she loved me very much and kept me by my hand. I didn’t leave Mrs. Cicha for a while. I took a leave and took care of her with my mother. Mrs. Cicha felt uneasy that I had to do some unpleasant things, but I told her she should feel Mrs. Sala doing that because if she were not so far away she would have done that. But life is a very cruel thing - one must live on. We buried her body in her family vault. We put your photograph into the coffin as she wanted that. We are missing her and wish she had lived at least one more year, even sick. We visit her in the cemetery; she’s not alone as she wished. She will always be close to all of us, to those whom she loved so much.
If I missed something in this letter, please let me know, I will write you gladly.
Thank you very much for your holiday regards.
[signature illegible. – MSh.]

Letter of Halina Furgali_ska from Sosnowiec to Mrs. Wachsman mailed also after Mrs. Cicha’s death, probably 1980 or early 1981
Dear Mrs. Sala,
Please receive my hearty thanks for your kindness about which I learned from Mrs. Cicha. I didn’t answer your letter as I was waiting for the parcel to arrive in order to acknowledge its receipt. I don’t know how I will repay you. The parcel moved me so much that I cried.
I want you to know that Mrs. Rózia was also very dear to Mrs. Cicha. I brought Mrs. Cicha to the bank to draw the bonds [in communist countries, there were special bills called bonds, given instead of Western currency deposited or transferred to bank accounts that could be cashed in special shops as Western currency was not permitted. – MSh], she spoke highly also about Mrs. Rózia’s kind heart and her help. She loved you much. I didn’t write you as I didn’t know about your mutual attachment; she asked me not write you before her death “because those my children may cry and will be crying for a long time when I am away”: she didn’t let me write letters as she was badly ill. Until her last days she couldn’t stop enjoying your visit here. She was worried about your health as then it was quite cold. I love Mrs. Cicha, I go to the cemetery, her tomb is always clean, I bring flowers, candles, and when I feel uncomfortable I go to the cemetery and cry there and return as if I am another person, quiet, Mrs. Cicha as if by God’s will brings me will-power. I believe we will meet some time if I am noble as Mrs. Cicha.
I visited the cathedral in Cz_stochowa [the most famous and adored among the Poles, the Jasnogórski Cathedral of Our Holy Virgin in Cz_stochowa. – MSh.], I paid for the mass for Mrs. Cicha’s soul. Her property was divided between her intimate friends. I received her house, we are busy with connecting water, we should do something with it, and I received some clothes too. If you or Mrs. Rózia come on a visit here, please consider this house as yours too, I will receive you heartily, to my best, modestly but warmly. Dear Mrs. Sala, you write wonderful Polish without mistakes, and each your letter is a holiday for me. Our Lord will reward you and Mrs. Rózia hundred times for the kindness of your hearts. Thank you for the dresses from Mrs. Cicha, I think they were yours.
I wish you and all your family all the happiness in the world. God bless you!

[P.S.] I read my letter once more and understood that I cannot write well and express all my feelings, but I think you would understand me.


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