“AFTER RETURNING TO WARSAW SHE SAID: I AM LIVING AGAIN, RISING FROM THE DEAD, LEAVING MISERY BEHIND, FINDING NAMES, SURNAMES, ADDRESSES, SLEEPING NORMALLY, EATING BREAD, DRINKING WATER IN GREAT GULPS AND AT NIGHT I HAVE DIFFICULT DREAMS OF RAVENSBRÜCK CAMP WHICH TOOK AWAY MY YOUTH.”
At the end of August 1944, during the Warsaw Uprising and the destruction of Warsaw’s Old Town, Janina Buszkowska was deported to Ravensbrück concentration camp along with her mother (Janina’s prison number was 63 392, her mother Władysława’s was 63 393) via the Pruszków transit camp. The reason for their deportation was the hatred of the German occupying force for the Polish nation. Janina Buszkowska was a Pole living in Warsaw and was part of Warsaw’s civilian population.
In May 1945, along with a group of several Poles rescued from Ravensbrück they set off on foot to Poland; the journey took about one month. My mother and grandmother returned to the ruins of Warsaw flattened to the ground, to a house that was no longer there. They returned on foot for their human happiness, paid for with the tears and suffering experienced in the camp, when they were just “numbers”. On this journey they were accompanied by the torment of uncertainty and fear, tears and prayer.
My mother was a brave woman, stubborn but helpful, with a resilient will to survive. The hope of a better fate and the support she had from her mother and my grandmother Władysława helped her survive the hell of war and start building a new life in the completely destroyed city of Warsaw.
Janina Ciszewska’s daughter