Oral history
History witnesses

Halina Aszkenazy-Engelhard

Interlocutor name:
Interlocutor surname:
Interlocutor alias:
Halina Ogonowska, „Halszka”
Klara Jackl
Piotr Boruszkowski
Catalogue number:
Recording date:
21st April 2013
Recording location:
Recording duration:
Recording language:
Recording copyright:
POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews
Holocaust Survivors


Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, Emigration, ghettos , Warsaw Ghetto, World War II, Holocaust survivors, Ghetto uprising, Participation in the resistance.

Related places

Interlocutor biogram

Halina Aszkenazy-Engelhard was born on 15 April 1924 in Warsaw. Her father was a Zionist activist, her mother was a teacher and a member of the Polish Socialist Party. In 1940, Halina Aszkenazy-Engelhard was placed in the ghetto. In April 1943, she escaped from a transport heading to Majdanek death camp, and later lived in hiding in Warsaw. During the Warsaw Uprising, she was a nurse, then she was sent to a transit camp in Pruszków, from where she was taken to Germany. After the war, she lived in Łódź, and in 1947, she emigrated through France to Palestine. She was the president of the Union of Warsaw Jews in Israel. She has included her memories in her books Pragnęłam żyć. PamiętnikDzień, noc, dzieńSpotkanie z losemWarszawa – Paryż – Tel Awiw. In 2008, she was awarded the Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland. Halina Aszkenazy-Engelhard died on October 2, 2016 in Tel Aviv.

Read more about rescuing Halina Aszkenazy-Engelhard: The story of Michał Kubacki | Polscy Sprawiedliwi.

Recording circumstances description

The conversation was recorded at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Halina Aszkenazy-Engelhard came to Warsaw to commemorate the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

Recording summary

  1. Autobiographical information, father, apartment in Warsaw, 00:00:00
  2. Recollection of Janusz Korczak, 00:05:47
  3. Life in the first months of World War II, a kindergarten run by her mother, the beginning of the creation of the ghetto in Warsaw, smugglers, being blackmailed by a Pole, organizing smuggling, 00:09:14
  4. Living conditions in the ghetto, the issue of help outside the ghetto, the relationship of the mother with a non-Jewish legionnaire, the reaction of the family, 00:18:27
  5. Cultural characteristics of the family, languages spoken by members, 00:27:06
  6. Education of the interlocutor, 00:32:20
  7. Living conditions in the Warsaw ghetto, theft of property, selling off property, 00:36:12
  8. Beginning of the deportation action in July 1942, taking refuge in the so-called shop at Leszno Street, packing belongings, selling personal belongings, round-up, working in the shop, 00:38:54
  9. The interlocutor's illness, 00:50:43
  10. Selection on 18 January 1943, resistance in the ghetto, fears of another extermination action, 00:52:32
  11. Selection in the shop in 1942, hiding, living conditions, obtaining food, subsequent deportations to the Treblinka death camp, closing of the shop, 00:55:27
  12. Willingness to organize self-defence, refusal to be admitted to the Jewish Combat Organization, 01:05:48
  13. Cousin Celina - actress in the theatre, 01:07:25
  14. Organization of self-defence, collection of sharp tools, defence plans, cultural life (theatre, dance parties, spiritualist seance), 01:09:37
  15. Searching for shelter outside the ghetto, help provided by Fr. Michał Kubacki, 01:15:07
  16. Birthday, 01:20:31
  17. The outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, hiding from the Germans, 01:22:13
  18. Capture by the Germans and Ukrainians, loading on the Umschlagplatz into wagons, conditions in the wagon, purchase of water, 01:36:45
  19. Escape from the train, parting with mother, 01:41:17
  20. Help provided by Poles, 01:43:38
  21. The threat of rape and denunciation, 01:47:40
  22. The appearance and behaviour of escapees as factors posing a risk of denunciation, 01:48:23
  23. Travel to Warsaw, the manhunt, detention of Celina and two other escapees, 01:50:14
  24. Arrival in Warsaw, help provided by Fr. Michał Kubacki, procuring false documents, learning Catholic prayers, 01:53:30
  25. Threat of denunciation due to ignorance of Catholic customs, 01:56:50
  26. Looking for a new shelter, staying with a friend, staying in a shelter for the homeless in Leszno, risk of denunciation, 01:58:58
  27. Contact with Majewska - Jankiel Wiernik's wife, shelter in monasteries on Freta Street and Wronia Street, Bernard's sister, issuing false documents, staying with Henia, 02:03:43
  28. The outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising, joining the Polish Home Army, 02:09:22
  29. Explosion and fire in the tenement house on Twarda Street, 02:10:56
  30. Beginning of the Warsaw Uprising, participation in the uprising, 02:13:41
  31. Honoured with the Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland, activity in the Association of Varsovians in Israel, journalistic activity, acquaintance with Maria Kaczyńska, 02:14:42
  32. Deportation from Warsaw to the transit camp in Pruszków, parting with Henia, meeting of Irka's friend and her friend Halina, work in a factory in Berlin,02:17:16
  33. Friendship with Irka and Halina, return to Warsaw in 1945, 02:19:15
  34. Transition camp in Wilhelmshaven, work at the Schwarzkopf plant in Berlin, 02:23:24
  35. Return to Warsaw in 1945, searching for family members, 02:24:17
  36. Decision to go to Łódź, education, identity, security concerns after the Kielce pogrom, accusation of espionage, emigration to Israel, life in Israel, 02:26:50
  37. Reflections on the arrival to Warsaw for the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, identity, 02:32:45



Polish Roots in Israel: Halina Aszkenazy (Engelhard) about her family in Warszawa | Wirtualny Sztetl

“Death Cars.” Halina Aszkenazy-Engelhardt’s Account | Polscy Sprawiedliwi

Warsaw. Love in the accounts of the Survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto | Virtual Shtetl (sztetl.org.pl)

Ja będę żyła! Relacje polskich Żydów o II wojnie światowej - YouTube

In order to properly print this page, please use dedicated print button.