1923 - 1939

Krysia was born as Eugenia Cymer in Lodz in December 1923, an only child of a well-to-do pharmacist, Jozef Cymer, and his wife Zofia nee Feferman. The short pre-WWII section of her album clearly indicates that she must have had a very happy childhood including vacations in the most fashinable places in Poland and abroad.

The last summer before the war, the summer of 1939, was especially busy. First, in June, Krysia spent some time in Druskienninki, a fashinable spa in eastern Poland (today in Lithuania) and then with her best friend Ala Ratner in Wlodzimierzow near Lodz and, in the last days of August, with her father in another spa, Jaremcze (today in Ukraine).

 

In fact it must have been on her journey back from the 1939 summer vacations, that Krysia noticed the unusually large number of trains going towards the West. She took a quick photo of a soldier on a train platform and in her album wrote below it: “War!”.

A couple of days afterwards her father, who as a pharmacist was a junior officer in the Polish reserve army, was called up and on 8 September the German army entered Lodz which was soon included in the Warthegau, the part of occupied Poland incorporated into the German Reich. The pressure on Jews and Poles in the city intensified from day to day and when in November 1939 a Nazi appointed commissar, an Estonian Volksdeutsche named Alexander Nielsen-Stokkebye, took over the pharmacy, the last remining anchor which kept Krysia and Zofia in Lodz disappeared.

 

Like many others,  they decided to move to Warsaw which was now a city in the Generalgouvernement, the part of Poland which was under German military administration. Surely in Warsaw, which sustained heavy damage during the fighting, two ladies looking for a place to rent will be less suspicious than anywhere else.

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In Poddebie, 1925

First day at school

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With Zofia at Zawadzka street, 1926

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 Krynica, 1934

Prater, Vienna, 1936

With her best friend, Ala Ratner. in 1938. Ala also survived the war and in 1946 emigrated to Australia. 

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   In Zakopane, 1938 (fragment)

Kalatowki, Zakopane, 1938

Druskienniki, summer 1939

With Ala, Wlodzimierzow, 1939

Jaremcze, 28 August 1939 

WAR!!!