“Rabbit” Wanda Kulczyk-Rosiewicz was only 18 – and newly married – when she and her husband were jailed by the Gestapo. After nine months at the notorious Pawiak prison in Warsaw, she was deported to Ravensbrück. She never saw her young husband again; he died in Auschwitz.
Wanda was in the first group of young Polish women selected for experimental surgeries in August of 1942. She was operated on twice, about six weeks apart. Her most vivid memory in the camp “hospital” was about her close friend in the camp, Janina “Nina” Iwańska:
“…Nina Iwańska, she also had a surgery on her legs. From her thighs to her ankles…she had these long cuts done. And she was so exhausted. I had that second surgery and I had high fever afterwards... 42 degrees Celsius. And I was so weak and thirsty. They didn't give me anything to drink. I was very, very weak. And Nina stood up on her one leg and walked around and banged on the door and asked that they would give me something to drink. And of course, no response. And I later asked her: “Nina, why did you run around like this and care for me like this? You were sick yourself, why did you try to help me like this?” And she said: ‘Because I thought you were dying.’ That's what we all did, we tried to help each other.”
Wanda recently made the trip to Ravensbrück for the annual commemoration of the liberation of the camp, where she and her great-grandson were able to meet with the Polish First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda. She was also recently honored by the Polish Senate for her resistance efforts and sacrifices for her country. During her interviews with us, however, Wanda had little to say about herself. She only talked about the efforts of so many others to save her life.