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Warsaw. After 80 years, they received souvenirs from their loved ones. They belonged to women imprisoned in concentration camps

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Memorabilia of loved ones returned to families after 80 years. The watch and earrings, as well as the brooch and powder compact, belonged to two women detained by the Germans during the Warsaw Uprising and imprisoned in concentration camps.

On Tuesday, in the Memorial Room at the Warsaw Insurgents' Cemetery, Stanisława Mordes' nephew, Jacek Mordes, and Anna Tomczyk's granddaughter, Grażyna Malenka, received souvenirs of their relatives, victims of German Nazi concentration camps. Mr. Jacek received earrings and a watch, and Mrs. Grażyna received a brooch and a powder compact.

These items, taken from women detained in 1944 and sent to camps, remained in deposit for 80 years. Only now have the relatives of these two Warsaw women been found as part of the “Warsaw Uprising. Unknown HISTOries” campaign carried out by Arolsen Archives.

“There's a lump in my throat, tears in my eyes”

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– Although the watch is not an expensive Swiss watch, and the earrings are probably not expensive either, they are of great value to me, they belonged to the Stasia – told journalists Stanisława Mordes' nephew, Jacek Mordes, who received souvenirs of his uncle from representatives of the Arolsen Archives.

He admitted that he did not remember his uncle Stasia very well. – The last time I saw her, I was four years old – he explained. He recalled that when he received a call from the Arolsen Archives asking if he was a relative of Stanisława Mordes, because there were souvenirs of her to collect, he was very surprised. – How is this possible, after so many years – he wondered.

Grażyna Malenka received a brooch and a powder compact from her grandmother Anna Tomczyk. – I can't say anything, my emotion won't let me. There's a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes, she confessed.

Stanisława Mordes and Anna Tomczyk were detained by the Germans in the last days of the Warsaw Uprising. Both were transported to the Ravensbrück women's concentration camp. At the end of the war, thanks to the efforts of Count Folke Bernadotte, they were rescued from the camp and taken to Sweden. Then they returned to Poland.

Read also: 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising. Volunteers can still apply >>>

They find information about their loved ones in documents

The resources of the Arolsen Archives – the International Center for the Study of Nazi Persecution – included 4.7 thousand deposits, which were secured by the Allies after World War II and reached the facility in the 1960s. Almost half of them have been returned over the years. Currently, approximately two thousand deposits are waiting for owners. They include about 100 items taken from people deported from the capital during the Warsaw Uprising.

As part of the “Warsaw Uprising. Unknown History” campaign carried out in connection with the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the uprising, relatives of the victims are being searched for and all preserved items are returned to them.

Together with the deposits, families receive all documents relating to their loved ones that are kept in the Arolsen Archives. – In many cases, documents can be used to reconstruct the history of their relatives. The families we find often learn from documents what happened to their loved ones, said Anna Meier-Osiński, the initiator of the “Warsaw Uprising. Nieznane HiSTOrie” campaign.

– We believe that together we will be able to return a hundred souvenirs of the inhabitants of Warsaw and their loved ones and tell a hundred unknown stories – emphasized Ewelina Karpińska-Morek from the Arolsen Archives, coordinator of the #StolenMemory project. She encouraged people to help search for families.

Main photo source: PAP/Rafał Guz

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