Oral history
History witnesses

Lidia Zonn

Interlocutor name:
Interlocutor surname:
Józef Markiewicz
Józef Markiewicz
Catalogue number:
Recording date:
18th January 2019
Recording location:
Recording duration:
Recording language:
Recording copyright:
POLIN Museum of the History of the Polish Jews
Holocaust Survivors

Related places

Interlocutor biogram

Lidia Zonn was born in 1934 in Vilnius. Her father came from a Protestant family; he was an astronomer by profession and worked as an assistant at the university Astronomical Observatory in Vilnius. Her mother (Rachela Zonn, née Zarecka) studied history (she wrote her master’s thesis but did not defend it) but was devoted first and foremost to the father’s academic career. She died in 1948.

In 1939, the father of Lidia Zonn was offered a job at the Warsaw observatory, so the entire family moved to Warsaw. Initially, they lived at an astronomical observatory. In 1943, Lidia Zonn and her mother moved to the Institute of Experimental Physics at Hoża Street, then to 19/21 Malczewskiego Street to the villa of Jerzy Sołtan, from which they were sent to the temporary camp in Okęcie during the uprising. They were then relocated to Pruszków, and later to a village near Krakow. In 1945, the family reunited in Krakow (the father had been in an Oflag starting from 1939). After the war, they started living in a basement at Grażyny Street in Warsaw, and the father started working at the Institute of Physics of the University of Warsaw.

Lidia Zonn graduated from the Mikołaj Rej Upper Secondary School in Warsaw and from the Łódź Film School. Her professional work was connected with documentary films (editing), her husband was a director. She is currently retired.

Recording circumstances description

The interview was recorded at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw.

Recording summary

  1. The father’s work, a job offer in Warsaw; the move to Warsaw; 00:01:03
  2. Information on the interviewee’s mother, her devotion to the father’s academic career; 00:03:50
  3. Residence in an astronomical observatory; reasons for moving to the Institute of Physics; move to Malczewskiego Avenue; 00:05:48
  4. The Warsaw Uprising in Mokotów, seizure of the villa by the German troops; placement of the interviewee and her mother in a camp in Okęcie, subsequent relocation to Pruszków and then to a village near Krakow; 00:08:40
  5. Liberation; arrival in Krakow together with her mother and reunion with the father; 00:10:43
  6. Return to Poland and the father’s employment at the University of Warsaw; arrival in Warsaw together with her mother; 00:11:13
  7. The mother’s illness and death; 00:12:32
  8. The interviewee’s school education in Warsaw; studies at the Łódź Film School; 00:13:25
  9. Lack of information on the mother’s family; concealment of Jewish origin; no discussion about fortunes of the parents’ families; 00:14:40
  10. Information on the mother’s family; 00:17:47
  11. Circumstances in which the interviewee’s parents met; information on the father’s family; fortunes of the father’s siblings; 00:21:50
  12. The mother’s conversion; the interviewee’s religious identity; relationship with her mother and home education during the war, discussion about religion; 00:25:22
  13. Religious identity of the interviewee’s parents; 00:32:05
  14. Baptism in Vilnius; Confirmation; attitude towards the Protestant Church; sense of religious belonging; 00:33:39
  15. The Jewish community at the Film School; reflection on her attitude towards her Jewish origin in youth; 00:38:27
  16. Relationship with her father and discussion about the mother’s background; 00:40:50
  17. Residence in Mokotów after the war; transfer of the ill mother to the Institute of Physics; organisation of life in the postwar situation; 00:43:55
  18. Disownment of knowledge on the mother’s Jewish roots; conversations with her father – about the mother, the Oflag; lack of photos of the mother’s family and interest in her youth fortunes; 00:47:47
  19. The mother’s documents (Kennkarte); people supporting the interviewee’s family during the war; 00:53:40
  20. Fortunes of the mother’s siblings; speculations about the number of the mother’s relatives; 00:57:12
  21. Awareness of Jewish origin in 1968; feeling of injustice; no personal experience of anti-Semitism; 01:00:58
  22. The film titled “My Street”; 01:08:06
  23. A sense of privilege and security during the war; 01:11:33
  24. The interviewee’s current family situation; absence of discussion about her background; 01:15:30
  25. National and religious identity; a sense of foreignness towards Jewish traditions; 01:18:38
  26. The parents’ burial place; 01:26:59
  27. The father’s membership of Freemasonry; his acquaintance with Bronisław Krzyżanowski; 01:28:51
  28. The father’s second marriage; 01:32:25
  29. Belongings of the interviewee’s mother; 01:34:35
  30. The mother’s education; loss of her master’s thesis during the uprising; 01:37:45
  31. The mother’s historical and political views; 01:39:59
  32. Contact with the father staying in the Oflag; 01:43:51
  33. The mother’s course at the Institute of Psychology; 01:46:49
  34. Reasons for donating the mother’s belonging to the POLIN Museum; 01:50:49


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