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Stanisława Karsov-Szymaniewska – Home Army soldier who helped Jews


It is little known about one of the most active members of the Warsaw Home Army counter-intelligence who helped Jews in Warsaw. After the war she was sentenced to 10 years in prison. A similar fate met her daughter Lilianna, who was also involved in the underground.

Only in the context of the Second World War we can learn more details about the life of Karsov-Szymaniewska, born in Kiev in 1908. According to historians’ research, she was active in the independence underground from May 1940. Initially, she worked as a secretary of the counter-espionage group in the Secret Polish Army (TAP). This was an organisation which was co-founded, among others, by Witold Pilecki. It was active in the years 1939-1940. Its successor was the Armed Confederation (Konfederacja Zbrojna), which in 1941 merged with the Union of Armed Struggle (Związek Walki Zbrojnej), i.e. the later Home Army (Armia Krajowa – AK). In the latter, from March to April 1941, Karsov-Szymaniewska held the same post of counter-intelligence secretary as in the TAP. 

From 1942, she headed a counter-intelligence group, known as Brigade VI or the ‘women’s group’. On this account, she was in constant contact with the Warsaw Ghetto, as the female intelligence officers at her disposal also carried out reconnaissance in this area of Warsaw. In total, as many as 140 people reported to her.

During her underground activities, Karsov-Szymaniewska saw the drama of the Jews doomed to the Holocaust and was not indifferent to this fact. First, she delivered food parcels to Jewish acquaintances, then the so-called ‘Aryan papers’ and means of survival outside the ghetto. Then she temporarily hid some Jews in her flat. In 1943, she decided to hide three Jewish girls, Nina, Joasia and Iwona, at her home. It was a brave decision, because exactly opposite her house, located on the border of the German district, an occupant’s post was placed, which made difficult to help the Jews. As well as hiding the above-mentioned children, Stanisława also looked after Judyta Deutsch, another Jewish girl who existed on the so-called ‘Aryan side’ as Joanna Przedpełska, the alleged daughter of Karsov-Szymaniewska’s brother.   

During the war, the Polish woman became particularly close to the hidden child named Nina and adopted her. Stanisława passed through Stalin’s prison from 1949 to 1954 and died in 1978 in Warsaw. She was awarded the title ‘Righteous Among the Nations’.

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