Pietrzyk, Jenny

Jenny Pietrzyk was born in 1920s Poland, and she was a teenager by the time the war came.  Finding herself in eastern Poland, Jenny and her family were in the Soviet zone, based on the Molotov-von Ribbentrop Pact.   While the early years brought deprivation, the real onslaught for Jenny and her family came in 1941, after the German commenced Operation Barbarossa.  Like many Poles, Jenny’s family became victims of the Nazi territorial readjustment.  While Jews and others were massacred in her village, Jenny’s mother stepped forward to help, and Jenny recalls the haunted survivors who would come to her farm at night.  Most local Jews hiding in the forests were turned in by collaborators, principally Ukrainians.  Jenny’s mother and sister too fell victim, as the Nazis manipulated collaborators in various eastern European nations.  Jenny managed to escape the horror of that night, though she was later detained and sent to germany as a slave labourer, where she spent the balance of the war.  Jenny’s story reminds us of the complex ethnic realities in wartime Europe.

Jenny came to us courtesy of a Crestwood parent, and she was interviewed by Mr. masters in March 2017.