Holo­caust sur­vivor

Mem­oir pub­lished to make sure hor­rors of Sec­ond World War are not for­got­ten

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Front Page - By Stephen Briggs stephen.briggs@pe­ter­bor­oughto­day.co.uk Twit­ter: @PTstephenB

Book re­veals Peterborough woman’s or­deal:

The trau­matic tale of how a young woman sur­vived the Nazi in­va­sion of Poland, in­clud­ing be­ing taken to a con­cen­tra­tion camp has been told in new book. Krystyna Porsz – who now lives in Peterborough – was just 18 years old and liv­ing in War­saw when Ger­many in­vaded Poland.

Born Dorca Szafir, to sur­vive the hor­ren­dous events that fo ll owedKrys ty na changed her iden­tify, pre­tend­ing to be a Pol­ish Catholic in­stead of Jewish, and choos­ing a new name that she kept even af­ter the war ended.

The mem­oir Be­ing Krystyna tells the story in her own words of how she mirac­u­lously sur­vived the Nazi in­va­sion, in­clud­ing be­ing ar­rested and im­pris­oned as well as later taken to a con­cen­tra­tion camp. Sadly, most of her fam­ily didn’t makeita ndthe book also tell show oth­ers per­ished.

In 1947 she mar­ried Al­fons Porsz and they came to Eng­land, set­tling in Peterborough where they raised their fam­ily.

Her son, Chris Porsz, is a well-known city pho­tog­ra­pher whose weekly Peterborough Tele­graph col­umn –Para medic Pa par razzo– has been a pop­u­lar fea­ture of the pa­per for many years.

Krystyna worked at the Em­bassy The­atre for 30 years and now, aged 95, is a resi- dent at Laven­der House Care Home. To­day (Jan­uary 26) is Holo­caust Me­mo­rial Day, and au­thor Carol Browne, who lives in Cam­bridgeshire said it was im­por­tant forKrys ty na’ s story to be re­mem­bered.

She said: “It was a big re­spon­si­bil­ity to write Krystyna’s story, and, as I usu­ally write fic­tion, I wasn’t sure I could do it.

“But I felt that it is a story that needs to be told. As the years go by there are fewer and fewer Holo­caust sur­vivors left, so record­ing their sto­ries and mak­ing sure fu­ture gen­er­a­tions know the re­al­ity of what hap­pens when ha­tred and prej­u­dice take over, is so very im­por­tant. Get­ting to know Krystyna and the enor­mity of what she went through re­ally does bring it home what hor­ren­dous ex­pe­ri­ences hap­pened to or­di­nary peo­ple.

“We must never for­get what this brave lady and so many oth­ers went through and we should make sure it never hap­pens again.”

The nar­ra­tor in the mem­oir is based on a real life per­son, Ag­nieszka Coutinho who moved to Peterborough from Poland in 2005.

Ag­nieszka, whonow­works for the NHS, said: “The story was writ­ten in a very cre­ative and ex­tra­or­di­nary way, the con­trast be­tween a mod­ern Pol­ish woman and an older one who sur­vived World War II is in­trigu­ing. I came here on a gap year, but af­ter just a few months in Eng­land my life changed enor­mously.

“I feel that this coun­try gives me so many op­por­tu­ni­ties to de­velop my­self, to choose a job I’d like to do rather than do some­thing I don’ t… The cour­ses, work­shops, events, and the op­por­tu­ni­ties to learn about our­selves and the world are end­less here.”

Be­ing Krystyna is pub­lished by Dil­liebooks as an ebook for Kin­dle cost­ing £1.89/ For de­tails, see www. dil­liebooks.com

‘We must never for­get what this lady went through’

Krystyna to­day The cover of the book, Krystyna at the Em­bassy The­atre and, top, Ag­nieszka

Krystyna and Al­fons

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