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Why, oh God, Why

Article about: Hi 4thskorpion, Joanna is directly related to Halina Gorcewicz. It was her Grandmother. Im hoping to head over to see her this weekend and i will see what pictures i can get and anymore info

  1. #1

    Default Why, oh God, Why

    I met this girl named Joanna back some 15 years ago. She is Polish and like so many polish, Russian, Italian, etc there family came to Australia after the war looking for a better life.
    When i met her it didnt take long for her to find out i like ww2 stuff but had to tread carefully knowing the family background.
    She opened up one day and told me the most intence story of her grandmother. So intence that she showed me a signed letter from Steven Speilberg stating that there must be a movie made to show and document this story of her grandmothers courage against all odds. 13yr old Polish girl in 1939 against the Nazi's.
    She went on to say how her grandmother ran underground helped injured people, saved lives , many children and alot more in this story thats just mind blowing to say the least. She showed me medals from her grandparents and told me that she wrote a book titled Why, oh God, Why.
    It had taken her many years before she could bring herself to look at the diaries again in order to write her book. She explained - if I remember correctly - that she had buried them in a tin at one stage and they were subsequently recovered, but I don't recall by whom or how.
    Last night i googled her grandmothers name and wow, so mucg stuff came up. her name was Halina Gorcewicz. I think that was her name after marrage so im not sure if it was the same surname before hand.

    Anyway if you have spare time this is a really good read and one of the most documented diarys of life in the ghetto and how it was for people day to day. Here is the website
    Why, Oh God, Why?: About Halina Gorcewicz

    The diary starts here.. Introduction.. Why, Oh God, Why?: 1-Introduction

    Page 1 Pyry, nr. Warsaw, - 25th July, 1939
    Why, Oh God, Why?: 1.1-Childhood

    Rest of the diarys are to the left of the web page. I will ask if i can get some images of the medals she has to post up here. There maybe some really interesting ones..

  2. #2


    Thank you for posting this Marc, an important story that should be heard.



    p.s. I will now move the thread to the Konzentrationslagers forum.
    Currently working on several KZ related projects, including items for the USHMM, Groß-Rosen Museum and various private concerns and studies. Available as a guide to KZ sites, contact for details.

    "maka akaŋl oyate maŋi pi ki le, tuweŋi wíyópeya oki hi sni"

  3. #3


    Thanks Carl,
    I just heard that Joanna has some really important medals. cant wait to photograph them to show here. I will give her copys of the photographs for incase someone steals them or looses them etc.

    - - ------- - -

    I havnt read the whole thing yet but i was told that her gandmother collected German grenades and set them off to make her escape . Cant wait to read it all

  4. #4


    I've just read what has been posted so far on the web site.
    It is very, very interesting.
    I hope the rest will be posted soon.
    Live to ride -- Ride to live

    I was addicted to the "Hokey-Pokey" but I've turned
    myself around.

  5. #5


    Yep Joanna said she has 2 black a4 arch files thick of the diary typed up . One in Polish & one in English

  6. #6


    Wow , thanks for posting this link Marc , a truly remarkable women and one her granddaughter can be rightly proud of! Leon.
    "Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." Ernest Hemingway

  7. #7



    I find this news very interesting because in her manuscript Halina Gorcewicz writes that she gave birth, in secret, to a son in KL Stutthof in early 1945 who became the youngest inmate of the concentration camp. She escaped from a German prison train evacuating the camp ahead of the Red Army advance and made her way back to Warsaw which had been liberated and occupied by the Soviets since 17 January 1945 where she was reunited with her husband whom she had married during the Warsaw Rising 1944 but who had also been a PoW in Germany after the capitulation of the insurgency.

    Halina, writes that she, her husband and son emigrated to Australia but tragically both her husband and only son were killed in car crash in 1948! She writes "Why, O God, Why" - as the sign-off to the ending of the manuscript - at the desolation of being left alone having been through so much trauma in her life during WWII.

    Haling does not mention getting remarried in her book which was first published in the 1990's online by Jerzy Klinger in Western Australia.

    Am excited to see what comes of this new contact as Halina's story of taking part in both the Jewish Ghetto Uprising 1943 and the Warsaw Rising 1944 is one of very few and I have been interested ever since I found the original manuscript translated by Jerzy Klinger in the good old '90's. The manuscript disappeared offline after Jerzy sadly died.

    Halina Gorcewicz recorded a short interview about her life for Spielberg's Shoah Foundation unfortunately it is not available online and only accessible in person.

    Hopefully Joanna will allow you to post photos of Halina and her medals and especially a page from Halina's original diary as I have been intrigued to see the original pages for years.

    After first reading Halina's manuscript I spent a long time tracing references to all the people she mentions in her book which was fascinating as many of them were leading Varsovians of the day both in Jewish and non-Jewish social circles. Although not directly mentioned I discovered that Halina fought with AK Grupa Bojowa (Battlkegroup) “Krybar” (Powiśle) during the Warsaw Rising as she writes about the personalities she fought alongside. There are many such interesting nuances to the story that only became clear by studying the named characters in the book.

    Below is my Halina Gorcewicz file record for Shoah Foundation interview:-

    Gorcewicz, Halina: Jewish Survivor

    Name of Interviewee Halina Gorcewicz (release name)
    Gorcewicz (current name
    Halina Kalmus (name at birth)
    Kalmus (maiden name)
    Janina Kazimierska (false name)
    Nowicka (other name)
    Kalmus (release maiden name)
    Gender Female
    Date of Birth 01/01/1926
    City of Birth Warsaw (Poland)
    Country of Birth Poland
    Religious Identity (Prewar) Roman Catholic Church
    Religious Identity (Postwar) -
    Religious Identity (Time Period Unknown) -
    Ghetto(s) Warsaw (Poland : Ghetto)
    Camp(s) Pruszków (Poland : Concentration Camp)
    Stutthof (Danzig (FC) : Concentration Camp)
    Went into Hiding No
    Member of Underground, Resistance or Partisan Group(s) Yes
    Hiding or living under false identity (Location) Warsaw (Poland)
    Type of hiding place -
    Resistance Group(s) Armia Krajowa
    Liberated by Soviet armed forces
    Location of liberation Skierniewice (Poland)
    Fled from Nazi controlled territory No
    Fled from Nazi controlled territory No
    Aid Giver, Liberator, or War Crimes Trials Participant -
    Other Experiences Ghetto escapes
    Identity concealment
    Transfer escapee
    State of Interview WA (Western Australia)
    Country of Interview Australia
    Language(s) of Interview Polish
    Length of Interview 3:33
    Interview Code 12829
    © 1994-2010 USC Shoah Foundation Institute, University of Southern California (Version 3.0.3660.29692)
    Last edited by StefanM; 11-14-2013 at 08:02 PM.
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

  8. #8


    Last paragraphs from:

    (Based on damaged pages salvaged from original diaries)
    Translated by Jerzy Klinger

    "....My years of happiness, however, were not many. In 1948 I was struck by the heaviest blow of all. I lost my little son and my husband in a car accident. I was the only survivor, despite sustaining concussion. So I was saved again, but I do not know for whom? I felt the loss of my child most painfully, breaking down completely. It was only thanks to the devotion of my parents and their untiring efforts with me that I regained comparative composure. A few years after the accident I commenced higher studies in order to quieten the pain in my heart and soul.

    Today, alone and approaching old age, I often analyse my past experiences, asking myself why I had to go through so much only to lose that which was dearest to me?

    Why, oh God, why?..."

    * * * * * * * * *
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

  9. #9


    Marc, is the Joanna you speak of the granddaughter of Jerzy Klinger the translator of Halina's diary manuscript rather than the granddaughter of Halina Gorcewicz given Halina writes:

    "Today, alone and approaching old age, I often analyse my past experiences, asking myself why I had to go through so much only to lose that which was dearest to me?"

    Surely another child (presumably from a second marriage) and granddaughter would have been mentioned as a counterpoint to this last tragic sentence? Would they not have been equally dear to Halina, if not more so, given the previous loss of her young son and husband.

    Very intrigued to learn more.
    Last edited by StefanM; 11-15-2013 at 11:29 AM.
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

  10. #10


    linked to read later.

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