A JEWISH CHILD AND ‘SUNDAY’ (‘NIEDZIELA’)

ANNA JANOWSKA

He was one of the saved from Holocaust. In the editorial office of ‘Niedziela’ we could meet with him personally. Arturo Dreifinger who moved to Argentina after the war, arrived in Poland in 2006 and visited the editorial office of ‘Niedziela’. He met with the editor-in-chief of that time Fr. Inf. Ireneusz Skubiś and told him about his war life story – or rather what had remained in his memory as a little child whom he had been at that time.

Arturo Dreifinger was born in 1938 in Lvov, in a Jewish family. In 1941 the town was invaded by the Germans, when he was only 3 years old. He did not remember when and where his mother ran away with him from the invaded town. When he was older and asked his parents about those times, they did not want to return to the war with their memories. Among torn apart images of his memory there was also Warsaw, the uprising and a cell where they were hidden. He also remembered a day when the Germans found the hide and ordered an execution. Then he was separated from his mother. As a 6-year-old he was taken to Italy nearby Warsaw. He was wandering along streets, getting food from unknown people. He knew that he was to answer the question about his surname: Tadeusz Stenawski. Other phases of his wander were Pruszków – Częstochowa.

When, after years, he arrived in the editorial office ‘Niedziela’, he was 68 years old. He said that what he really wanted was to find out more about a priest who in Autumn and Winter 1944/45 was taking care of him in Częstcohowa. From earlier contacts and letters he knew that the priest was Antoni Marchewka. In that point the life story of Artur Dreifinger converges with the history of ‘Niedziela’. In January 1945 Fr. Marchewka was appointed by bishop Teodor Kubina as the editor-in-chief of ‘Niedziela’, which after the war occupational break was reactivated. It is not exactly known how long Fr. Marchewka was taking care of Artur. Being saved from Holocaust he remembered that nearby a woman worked, who hardly spoke to him, anyway at that time hardly anybody spoke anything – they were afraid. That woman was also taking care of a boy. Whenever the priest paid a visit, she used to come out and he did not, she was taking care of the child. According to the story said by Mr. Artur – it might have been Zofia kossak-Szczucka who was cooperating with Fr. Marchewka at that time. It is not known when the priest took the Jewish boy to Cracow. There he placed him in an orphanage where war orphans and children were who had been separated from their parents. He thought that if somebody from the boy’s family survived, he would be looking for him mainly in that place. He was not wrong. The boy’s mother found him in the orphanage and went to Praque with him, where they found Artur’s father and then they went to relatives in Argentina.

The story about his saved life, told by Artur Dreifinger, is included in an interview on pages 14 – 15, which he gave to Fr. Skubiś then. During the interview he was very emotionally moved by the fact that he had been able to find the trace of his childhood. It must have been very important to him to have his memories written down by Mercedes Fernandez published in a book entitled: ‘El nino roto’ after his return to Argentina. On the book cover there is information that the book is based on a real life story of Artur Dreifinger.

On the facebook profile of daughter of Mr. Artur - Regina we can see a few of his photos. He has hardly changed since his visit to ‘Niedziela’. There is also an entry informing about his illness, and then his death in the beginning of 2017. The condolence entry of Alex Dreifinger, referring to the war life story of Artur is as follows: ‘My dear brother Arturo have mercy and may you Rest In Peace. You were a broken child but a light on your family’.

Translated by Aneta Amrozik

Niedziela 11/2018 (18 III 2018)

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Lidia Dudkiewicz • E-mail: redakcja@niedziela.pl