The Real Heroes of Lilac Girls

Last night a Goodreads reader named Cynthia posted a question on my page: “What will you do if Lilac Girls wins The Goodreads Reader’s Choice Award?” I told Cynthia I would shout it to the rooftops since my goal in writing the book was to get the word out about this incredible group of Polish political prisoners, The Rabbits, who endured so much after surviving Nazi experiments at Ravensbruck.

That is so true, but this morning I woke up thinking of another special group of women, the Rabbits who didn’t survive. Nine young women who also lived through the brutal experiments but were marched, some of them carried, since they were still recovering, to the shooting wall and executed. All because they volunteered in the Polish underground to sabotage the Nazi effort.image-15-2

It has been a teary morning assembling their pictures,  such lovely young women who never had a chance at life, but I wanted to post their faces and names so we can remember and honor them for their courage and dedication to fighting the Nazis, for standing up for what is right.

Thank you for supporting Lilac Girls. Thanks to you, the whole world is learning their story. And it has only just begun.

Irena Poborowna (center) Clockwise from top: Janina Flak, Wanda Kakowska, Wanda Polakowska, Malgorzata Dembowska, Romana Sekula, Zofia Szachowicz, Henryka Dembowska, Krystyna Krauzowna.

 

Meet Teresa Jaworska Code Named “The Owl” Who Survived The Warsaw Uprising and Oberlangen Prisoner of War Camp.

IMG_7076          There are so many interesting people living on Martha’s Vineyard, I shouldn’t have been surprised to meet Teresa Jaworska, 93, just a stone’s throw from my parent’s house in Vineyard Haven. Teresa survived The Warsaw Uprising, was arrested and spent nine months in Oberlangen Prisoner of War Camp. I visited Teresa at her daughter Basia’s home, where she told me about her arrest and deportation to the camp.

“My code name was Sowa,” Teresa said. “The owl.” “Because of her big, wise eyes,” Baisa added. We snacked on tea and pastries (Teresa is a huge chocolate fan) and Teresa told us how when she was just a teenager, she and her fellow resistance fighters in the Gray Ranks held off the Germans, while the Russians waited for the conflict to be over so they could enter Warsaw.

I also got to hear about Basia and co-writer Linda Black are penning the story of Basia’s parents’ lives (Teresa’s husband Zbyszko also worked in the underground) called Sleeping Knights–all based on amazing true stories.

What a pleasure to stumble upon such a wonderful Polish story so close to home!