Ms Tekla Juniewicz is celebrating her 116th birthday today. She was born in Austria-Hungary, a few years before the outbreak of the First World War. In the year when the construction of the Panama Canal was underway in America, the first flight of the plane took place in Europe, and Maria Skłodowska-Curie gave her first lecture at the Sorbonne. Ms Tekla is currently the oldest living Polish woman and the second oldest living person in the world.
She was born on June 10, 1906 in the village of Krupsko in Austria-Hungary, now in the territory of Ukraine. She was 12 when Poland regained independence. Until the outbreak of World War II, she led a quiet life alongside her husband, who was the manager of warehouses in the mine in Borysław. After the war, the city found itself in the USSR, and she and her family moved to Gliwice, where she lives with her grandson to this day.
In total, Ms Tekla Juniewicz has five grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren. The older daughter died in 2016 at the age of 88, the younger one is now 93. The oldest grandson is 70 years old, and the youngest great-great-granddaughter was born last year, on Mrs. Tekla’s 115th birthday.
The secret of longevity
– Grandma likes company, she likes open people, she doesn’t like distance. And she has some power that everyone wants to touch her, hug her – grandson Adam said in an interview with TVN24. He also referred to numerous questions about the secret of longevity: – Grandma’s geriatrician says they’re just genes. When she was seven or eight years old, she fell ill with typhus. All the sick were deported somewhere, isolated, mortality was high, and my father hid my grandmother in the basement. The doctor said: “Tekluniu, when you got out of it, you will live a long time.” And as far as I can remember, Grandma was not sick at all. Until her hundredth birthday, when she got bronchitis, he recalled.
Three antibiotic tablets were enough to recover Mrs. Tekla. She had no health problems for the next ten years when she underwent two operations under full anesthesia for a gallbladder stone. Until the age of 111, she was completely independent. “Now he sleeps more and more often, but he thinks soberly, watches the world, recalls” – assures the grandson.
Ms Tekla Juniewicz is not only the oldest living Polish woman. It ranks first on the list of the longest living Poles in history. As noted by the portal Najstarsi Poles, a woman is the first person in Poland to reach the following age: 112, 113, 114, 115 and 116 years. It also ranks second in the list of the oldest living people in the world. Only Lucile Randon, a 118-year-old nun from France.
TVN 24 Katowice, najstarsipolacy.pl
Main photo source: Tekla Juniewicz family archive