Surname: Unknown ( WENGLINSKI? WEGLINSKI?)
Name: Barbara “Baschka”
Birth Date: 1942
Birth Place: Ghetto Warsaw, Warszawa, Poland
Father’s Name: Unknown
Mother’s Name: Unknown
THE GOOD NEWS:
Since 1996 Barbara has found the two families who saved her during the war.
1) The Rebhun family. It was Charlotte Rebhun , a German woman married to a Polish Jew , who took care of Barbara after she was smuggled out of the Warsaw Ghetto with the help of a German soldier in the winter of 1942/1943. Charlotte’s husband Max Meir Rebhun had been killed already at that time in Treblinka, but courageous Charlotte took the tremendous risk of taking in nine month old Barbara. Her own two children, Wolfgang and Adele, helped taking care of Barbara. Barbara was separated by force from the Rebhuns in August 1944 after the Great Warsaw Uprising.
2) The Kaczmarek family.
After this separation, Barbara, two and a half years old at the time, was found in a railway wagon in Milanowek. She was give to the Polish chimney sweeper Kaczmarek and his wife. This family then took care of Barbara till the end of the war and up till 1948.
When the Jews learned about Barbara’s existence in 1948, she was brought to a Jewish Orphanage in Otwock and then adopted by the couple Himmel who brought her to Israel. After these successful discoveries, both Charlotte Rebhun and the Kaczmarek couple, have been granted , post mortem, the Medal of Rightous Gentiles of Yad Vashem.
THE UNSOLVED PART OF BARBARA’S PAST.
Charlotte Rebhun was killed in Berlin on May 1st 1945. She would have been able to tell Barbara who her parents were.
Her children, Wolfgang and Adele, have told the following:
“Barbara was born in the Warsaw Ghetto, the only daughter of a young couple in their mid twenties. The parents were probably active ghettofighters. They had relatives in the States.
A German soldier , a boyfriend of Sonia Spyra ( originally from Berlin), must have been one of the guards in the ghetto. He first asked Sonia’s mother, Mrs Gertrud Spyra who then lived in Tamka Street 40 if she could save the little girl. Mrs Spyra sent him to her friend Charlotte Rebhun.
Barbara had a note around her neck giving her name as Barbara Wenglinski. We are not convinced that Wenglinski was her real family name”.
RESEARCH JOURNAL JUNE 2005
THE GERMAN SOLDIER
Who was the German soldier who helped get Barbara out of the ghetto?
Did he survive and marry Sonia Spyra after the war?
He may be the only person who can tell us the names of Barbara’s parents, if he is still alive.
JEWS HIDDEN BY CHARLOTTE REBHUN IN HER APARTMENT IN WARSZAWA
Could there be other survivors from inside the ghetto who remember little Barbara being smuggled out of the ghetto?
If , against all odds, some of the other Jews Charlotte Rebhun saved in her apartment on Krochmalna Street 33, survived – perhaps they know the identity of Barbara’s parents?
Perhaps Barbara’s American relatives recognize the story or see any family likeness?
HONORING THE MEMORY OF CHARLOTTE REBHUN AND MEETING HER CHILDREN
In May 2005 Barbara was honored to be invited to Berlin for the inauguration of the new Holocaust memorial there, all in honor of Charlotte Rebhun who saved her during Holocaust. During this visit Barbara once more had the opportunity to meet her foster siblings Adele and Wolfgang Rebhun who took such good care of her during those difficult and dangerous years in Warszawa.
RESEARCH JOURNAL JULY 2005
The Encyclopedia of the Righteous Among the Nations for Poland ( in two volumes) was published in 2004 by Yad Vashem and given as a donation to this project by Barbara “Baschka”.
Summing up the courageous acts of Righteous Gentiles in a short segment is probably not easy.
Barbara has written her own text about the Polish family Kaczmarek family who saved her during the war:
Franciszek and Stanislawa Kaczmarek lived with their five children (most of them teenagers and young adults at the time) in Sierakow.
They were devote Catholics. Franciszek Kaczmarek made his living as a chimney sweeper, while his wife Stanislawa stayed at home to take care of the family.
When the war broke out in September 1939, the whole family got involved in the Polish resistance. In December 1939 following a denouncement by a neighbor, the whole family were thrown out of their house, only wearing their clothes, and deported to Miedzyhud and then to Szymanowo.
In January 1940 the family moved to Zyrardow where they lived opposite the Wehrmacht headquarters. Despite this, Stanislawa had decided that she would try to save an orphaned child because all her own children were still alive.
A friend of hers who worked for the Red Cross in Zyrardow knew about her decision, so when those working at the railway station in Zyrardow found a little two and a half year old girl abandoned in a railway wagon , this friend brought the little girl– that was me, Barbara – to the Kaczmarek family.
All the members of the Kaczmarek family loved me and cared for me as if I were their own blood and flesh. With the Wehrmacht soldiers as neighbors, the danger of being executed for hiding Jews faced them every day.
We lived in Zyrardow till the end of the war and then went back to their home town Sierakow.
The family wanted to adopt me, but through their deep Christian faith came to the decision that I should live my life as a Jewess.
In March 1948, after they had contacted the Jewish authorities, I was taken from the Kaczmarek family and placed in a Jewish orphanage in Otwock. In Otwock I was adopted by a Jewish couple named Mendel and Mania Himel and with them I emigrated to Israel.
In 1996 I found the identity of this family who saved me during the war. Since then I am keeping in touch with those family members still alive and have visited them in Poland. Unfortunately, Franciszek and Stanislawa Kaczmarek had died before I found out who they were.
After Yad Vashem recognized Franciszek and Stanislawa Kaczmarek as Righteous Gentiles in 1997, I attended the Yad Vashem ceremony in Warszawa where their living children received the medal and the diploma for Righteous Gentiles.
I will never forget these brave and good human beings.
RESEARCH JOURNAL AUGUST 2005
TELEPHONE REGISTRY FOR WARSZAWA 1938/1939
After escaping the ghetto, Charlotte Rebhun and her two children lived outside the ghetto in ulica Krochmalna 33.
Logan Kleinwaks gave us the name of another resident on ulica Krochmalna 33 in 1938/1939 in his comment below.
Using his search engine, we have now started to collect names of residents in ulica Tamka 40 from that same telephone registry. Again, if any of the non Jewish residents at that address, continued to live there during the war, perhaps they may have remembered the two German citizens Mrs. Gertrud Spiro and her daughter Sonia.
RESIDENTS IN ULICA TAMKA 40 IN 1938/1939
GERLACH G, Tamka 40 miernizce przyrzady
CHARLOTTE REBHUN’S LETTERS FROM THE EARLY 1940’s
Lately, Barbara contacted a nephew of Charlotte Rebhun in the States who told her that his family has old letters Charlotte wrote in German to her brother in the States in the early forties.Barbara had hoped that these letters would give her information that could help her in her search. Unfortunately, from what she has been able to read so far, this seems not to be the case. They seems to be no information about the Spyro family and Sonia Spyro’s boyfriend either.
RESEARCH JOURNAL JULY 2009
Melody Amsel-Arieli has written about Barbara’s search
written by barbara, February 26, 2008
WOW i cant believe that you had to live through that evil time but im glad that u survived any way. I wanted to know what happened to your parents, and your siblings, and did you have a best friend during this war.Well we are doing a project on the holocaust in Lake Charles,Louisiana, at S.J. Welsh Middle and if its okay i would like to talk about your side of the story.
P.S. YOU ARE A INSPIRATION TO ME BECAUSE YOU
ALLOW ME TO OPEN MY EYES AND ALLOWED ME TO BE THANKFUL AND
APPREICATIVE OF WHAT I HAVE AND WHO I HAVE
written by Wojciech Kaczmarek, September 25, 2007
Bardzo slabo znam angielski,ale z tego co sie polapalem to bardzo ciekawa historia.Mysle ze to nie jest moja dawna rodzina,poniewaz moi dziadkowie pochodza z innych stron.Zycze owocnych i udanych poszukiwan.Bardzo serdecznie POZDRAWIAM !!!!!!!!!!!!!!