Oral history
History witnesses

Irena Agata Bołdok

Interlocutor name:
Irena Agata
Interlocutor surname:
Przemysław Kaniecki
Józef Markiewicz
Catalogue number:
Recording date:
28th October 2022
Recording location:
Recording duration:
Recording language:
Recording copyright:
POLIN Museum
Holocaust Survivors

Related places

Interlocutor biogram

Irena Agata Bołdok was born in 1932. Her parents were Henryk Likierman and Anna, née Hampel. The family lived in Warsaw at 49 Marszałkowska Street. During the Second World War, Irena, together with her parents and older sister Helena, was confined to the Warsaw Ghetto, and lived on Sienna Street where she developed meningitis. At the suggestion of an acquaintance named Wiernicka, Irena and her sister were baptised at the Church of the Holy Cross. She and her mother then escaped from the ghetto and went to live with her father's sister in Międzyrzec Podlaski. After some time, Irena's mother returned to Warsaw under a false name to get her husband and older daughter out of the ghetto, but she was captured and sent to work in Germany, later to the Ravensbrück concentration camp. Irena was in the care of her aunt in the ghetto in Międzyrzec Podlaski. She stayed there until her aunt's family was deported to the Treblinka extermination camp. During the transport, the aunt and her relatives committed suicide. Irena was rescued by a Polish railwayman and began to wander. She stayed at her mother's friend, in a religious orphanage and in a nursing home, among other places. In 1946, she managed to find her mother, who soon died. Irena Agata Bołdok worked as a proofreader in the editorial office of "Żołnierz Wolności" (Soldier of Freedom) and in the State Youth Publishing House "Iskra" (Spark). She currently lives in Warsaw and is a member of the Association of the Children of the Holocaust.

Recording circumstances description

The interview was conducted at POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

Recording summary

  1. Childhood in Warsaw, description of the flat at 49 Marszałkowska Street, outbreak of the war, moving to the ghetto; 00:00:43
  2. Meeting her mother in 1946, staying in an orphanage after the war, reluctance to admit her Jewish identity, change of attitude towards her origins influenced by a conversation with her mother and a visit to Israel. Impact of activities in the Association of the Children of the Holocaust on the interviewee's identity; 00:05:06
  3. Circumstances of moving to Sienna Street before the ghetto was established; 00:10:46
  4. Memories from the ghetto, a poster "Jews - lice, spotted typhus"; 00:12:17
  5. Living in the ghetto at 30 Sienna Street; 00:14:29
  6. Escape with her mother through a hole in the ghetto wall; 00:16:05
  7. Living on Sienna Street in Warsaw, memories of the ghetto, getting food, disappearance of her sister; 00:17:11
  8. Fear associated with Sienna Street, fear of visiting it today, impact of trauma caused by the Holocaust on her present life; 00:23:53
  9. Post-war fate of the interviewee, escape from the orphanage, plans to leave, contact with Jewish organisations. Summer camp, meeting her future husband. Studying at school on Czerniakowska Street. Living in Ochota, working in the editorial office of "Żołnierz Wolności" and in the State Youth Publishing House "Iskra"; 00:27:23
  10. Trauma related to Sienna Street in Warsaw; 00:35:55
  11. Impact of a visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem on her identity; 00:38:56
  12. Home of a pre-war assimilated Jewish family; 00:43:28
  13. Meeting a German in Międzyrzec Podlaski, a manifestation of the will to survive and Jewish identity; 00:46:10
  14. Finding cousins after the war, contacts with family in England, family heirlooms; 00:51:25
  15. Double identity, discovering it in the Association of the Children of the Holocaust; 01:00:32
  16. Events of March 1968, their impact on the interviewee's life, her husband's reluctance to leave, staying in the country, her husband's work at the "Polityka" weekly, his later occupation; 01:06:04
  17. Finding a photograph of her mother, making contact with the Wiernicki family, finding a pre-war housekeeper, family photographs; 01:11:05
  18. Meetings with the Wiernicki family; 01:12:40
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