Anna Lanota’s false ID

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  • Photo taken in:
    Warsaw
    Year when photo was taken:
    1944
    Country name at time of photo:
    Poland
    Country name today:
    Poland

This is my false ID (in German ‘Kennkarte’) made in 1944. It was the second one I had during the war.

I escaped from the Warsaw ghetto onto the 'Aryan side' in August 1942. I can't remember how I got my false papers - I had them, of course, in the name of Krawczyk, I think, and the profession written in there was seamstress.

When during the Warsaw Uprising we walked through the sewers from the Old Town to Zoliborz, I lost them. In Zoliborz I met Antek, Icchak Cukierman.

He was an unbelievable man; there are not many people like him in the world. I told Antek that I didn't have any papers, and he answered: 'I'll sort it out right away.'

We went to a photographer. It took Antek a long time to persuade him to come out of the cellars, because he was scared of the shooting, but in the end he did come out and he took my photo.

You can see on it that my head is bandaged at the back; it looks as if I am going to my wedding in a white veil. Antek took the photograph and within a few hours I had a new ‘Kennkarte.’

My new false name was Antonina Pietrzak, the profession: worker. I had this ID until the end of the war.

When the defense of Zoliborz was coming to an end, a 20-man detachment was formed and ordered to go to Kampinos, a forest near Warsaw. We had to be very careful because the Germans had strung wires between Zoliborz and Bielany, a district of Warsaw.

We walked by night, and in the morning we reached Wawrzyszew; at the time it was a little village on the edge of Warsaw. A woman gave me a basket of tomatoes. The whole of the boundary of Warsaw was manned by Kalmyks, the Germans' auxiliary army.

My friend Jadzia and I went up to one of them and I said in Russian: 'My children are beyond there, I'm bringing them tomatoes, you have to let me through.' And I had this pretty watch, which had always been broken ; I had been given it by my employer in the ghetto.

The Kalmyk wanted me to give him the watch, so I gave it to him and he showed us how to pass so that the Germans didn't see us. It turned out that we needn't have asked him at all because the path was through a large field of rye.

We showed the boys to follow us. And that's how we got out of Warsaw.

Interview details

Interviewee: Anna Lanota
Interviewer:
Aleksandra Bankowska
Month of interview:
September
Year of interview:
2004
Szymanowek, Warsaw, Poland

KEY PERSON

Anna Lanota
Year of birth:
1915
City of birth:
Lodz
Country name at time of birth:
Poland
Occupation
before WW II:
Teacher
after WW II:
Journalist, editor
Family names
  • Previous family name: 
    Rottenberg
    Year of changing: 
    1942
    Reason for changing: 
    Marriage

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