Faces of Resistance: Women in the Holocaust
Irena Adamowicz (1910 – 1973)
Irena Adamowicz was born in Warsaw to a devout Catholic family. She trained in social work at the University of Warsaw and held a senior position in the Polish Scouts. In the 1930s she developed a close relationship with Hashomer Hatzair, participating in the movement’s educational and social activities. During the war, she also developed a close relationship with Hechalutz, working on the movement’s behalf when she could.
Adamowicz served as a liaison for the Jewish youth movements between the ghettos of cities across Poland, including Warsaw, Bialystok, Vilna, Kovno, and Šiauliai. She carried important information between the communities and brought encouragement to those imprisoned within the ghetto. She was one of the first to disseminate the news of systematic murder occurring under the Nazi regime, saving many from a previously unknown fate. Irena joined the ŻOB, serving as a liaison between the Jewish resistance and the Armia Krajowa (the Polish national underground). She was also involved in acquiring weapons for the Jewish resistance, in an effort to assist the ghetto fighters in the battles of April 1943.
After the war, Adamowicz maintained her relationship with the remnants of the Zionist youth movements in Poland. Later, she said: "My connections with the movement during the war were a natural continuation of the relationship I maintained for many years before the war…I undertook no heroic deeds, and it was not a sacrifice. Just as they needed me, I needed them. They were my friends, and by no means was I willing to cut off all contact with them.”
In 1958, she came to Israel for an extended visit as the guest of the HaKibbutz HaArtzi movement. In January 1985, Yad Vashem recognized her as Righteous Among the Nations.