Irena Adamowicz

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Irena Adamowicz

Irena Adamowicz (11 May 1910 – 12 August 1973), was a Polish-born scout leader and a Resistance worker during World War II.

Adamowicz was born in Warsaw, to a Polish noble family and held a degree in social work from the University of Warsaw before World War II,[1] she served as one of the leaders of the Polish Scout movement (Harcerz Polski) coordinating its activities as a Senior Girl Scout. A Polish Roman Catholic, Adamowicz provided counseling and educational services not only for the Catholic Scouts, but also for the Jewish youth movement called Hashomer Hatzair (Ha-Shomer ha-Tsa'ir) in the 1930s, working in close co-operation with Arie Wilner.[citation needed]

Following the German invasion of Poland, Adamowicz became a member of the underground Home Army (Armia Krajowa) as a clandestine courier, she delivered messages and provided aid and moral support for the Jewish ghettos in several distant cities.[2]

In 1985, Adamowicz was posthumously bestowed the title of the Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem in Jerusalem for her heroic stand against the Nazi Holocaust.[2][3]

Liaison missions[edit]

Due to her work for both, Polish and Jewish youth before the invasion of Poland, and her close contact with the Jewish Zionist movement, Adamowicz, a devout Christian, was able to come to the aid of Jewish Fighting Organization's efforts to establish a channel of communication between the ghettos of different cities. At a meeting in Warsaw in late 1941 a decision was made to embark on this perilous effort, by the representatives of AK including Irena Adamowicz and Stanislaw Hajduk, and, on the Jewish side, by Mordechaj Anielewicz, Icchak Cukierman, Josef Kaplan and Cywia Lubetkin. Throughout the summer of 1942 Adamowicz went on a daring trip across Poland and Lithuania to establish contact between clandestine organizations in the ghettos of Warsaw, Wilno (now Vilnius), Białystok, Kovno (now Kaunas) and Shavle (Šiauliai), her visits became a source of both vital information and moral encouragement, such as her inspirational presence in Kovno Ghetto in July 1942. She earned a Jewish nickname "Di chalutzishe shikse", the Pioneering Gentile.[2][4][5][6][7][8]

Following the end of World War II, Adamowicz remained in close contact with the survivors of the Holocaust, with whom she had worked in the Jewish underground. Thanks to their efforts, she was named Righteous among the Nations in 1985, her personal experience became a part of the book by Bartoszewski and Lewin entitled Righteous Among Nations; How Poles Helped the Jews, 1939–1945.[9][10]


  1. ^ Irena Adamowicz: Sprawiedliwy wśród Narodów Świata. MHŻP, Warsaw.
  2. ^ a b c Shoah Resource Center, The International School for Holocaust Studies, Adamowicz, Irena at
  3. ^ Righteous Among the Nations Recognized by Yad Vashem as of 1 January 2010. (pdf 1.55MB) Note: the direct link changed at source with YV annual update, search if present link discontinued
  4. ^ Abraham J. Edelheit (1994). History of the Holocaust: A Handbook and Dictionary. Avalon Publishing. p. 218. ISBN 978-0-8133-2240-7.
  5. ^ "March of the Living Canada 2008". Archived from the original on 13 May 2008. Retrieved 18 August 2013.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  6. ^ Kovno Righteous Gentiles
  7. ^ Yitzhak Zuckerman, Barbara Harshav, A Surplus of Memory: Chronicle of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising p. 493 1993 University of California Press, 702 pages, ISBN 0-520-07841-1
  8. ^ Month in Holocaust: August 2004 Yad Vashem The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority
  9. ^ Bartoszewski & Lewin, Righteous Among Nations; How Poles Helped the Jews, 1939–1945. London, Earlscourt Publications Ltd, 1969. (lxxxvii, 834) Includes first-person testimony by Adamowicz. ASIN: B000NUN16C
  10. ^ Holocaust Survivors and Remembrance Project: "Forget You Not", Irena Adamowicz Holocaust Remembrance, Sanctuary, and Beyond ...