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The story of Zofja Fajnsztejn, a Jewish child in hiding

Zofja Fajnsztejn, a Jewish child in hiding, plays with a
Polish child in a Warsaw park.

Alicja Fajnsztejn (now Alicia Weinsberg) is the daughter of Izaak and
Malka (Steinberg) Fajnsztejn. She was born October 3, 1929 in Warsaw,
where her father was an engineer. She had one sister, Zofja (b. 1936).
The family was quite well-to-do and owned several properties in
Warsaw. In October 1940, one year after the German invasion of Poland,
the family was forced to move into the Warsaw ghetto. There, Alicja
and her mother worked in the Toebbens factory while Zofja, who was
still quite young, hid under the table where her mother was sewing.
Later it was arranged that Zofja leave the ghetto with an aunt and her
two daughters. They were taken in by a former maid, Helena Biczyk, and
her husband Jozef, who had worked as the superintendent of one of
Izaak Fajnsztejn's properties. In January 1943, Alicja was also
smuggled out of the ghetto. After living in various hiding places, she
also went to live with the Biczyks, where she remained for more than a
year under the false name of Jadwiga Kapinska. Eventually, Alicja's
parents came to hide there as well. The Biczyks pretended the two
girls, Alicja and Zofja, were their cousins and even sat with them for
a formal family portrait. The Fajnsztejns lived in the laundry room,
located in the attic of the Biczyk's basement apartment. The
Fajnsztejns supported themselves by selling off jewelry and one of
their properties. In February 1945, soon after the liberation of
Warsaw, the family left for Otwock, and in September 1945, with the
help of the Bricha, they left Poland. After traveling through
Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Austria, they finally made their way to
the American zone in Germany and lived for the next few years in the
Foehrenwald displaced persons camp. Alicja emigrated to the United
States aboard the SS Marine Jumper from Bremen in March 1948. In 1982
Jozef and Helena Biczyk were recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous
Among the Nations.

Date: 1942 - 1944
Locale: Warsaw, Poland; Varshava; Warschau
Credit: USHMM, courtesy of Alicia Fajnsztejn Weinsberg