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Krystyna Zywulska (1918–1992)

Author of I Survived Auschwitz

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Krystyna Zywulska was born Sonia Landau in a secular Jewish family. In 1936, she graduated from gymnasium (high school) and went to Warsaw to study law. After the German invasion of Poland, her whole family was displaced to the Warsaw Ghetto. She escaped the Ghetto after two years and lived on the "Aryan" side of the city under a false name, helping other Jews in hiding. In 1943, she was arrested and assumed the identity of Krystyna Zywulska so as not to endanger her fellow Resistance members. She was transported to Auschwitz-Birkenau as a Polish political prisoner. She survived and after the war, remained in Poland and worked as a journalist, editor, and translator, contributing to numerous newspapers and journals. In 1946, she married Leon Andrzejewski, an official in the Communist secret police, and had two sons. That same year, she published a war memoir, Przezylam Oswiecim (I Survived Auschwitz), but did not reveal her Jewish origins. However, in 1963, she published another book, Pusta woda (Empty Water), which told her true story as a Jew. She ended her second book with a long and moving list of relatives, friends, and acquaintances lost in the Holocaust. In the course of her writing career, she also produced satirical pieces, poetry, songs, and children's books. She worked with the Syrena (Mermaid) Theatre in Warsaw and Polish Radio. In 1970, she moved to West Germany to be with her sons, who had emigrated earlier as a result of the 1968 anti-Semitic campaigns in Poland. After her death, she became the protagonist of a German novel, Und die Liebe? frag ich sie (And love? I ask you) written by Liane Dirks and first published in 1998.
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