Maria, Aniela Fedecka* was born in Moscow (where her father, Kazimierz Krzywiec, was studying pharmacy**), died in Warsaw on 21 December 1977.
She was born into the intelligentsia and pursued medical studies but her true passion and vocation in life was to bring, with the support of her husband Stanisław Fedecki, moral and material support to victims of social, economic and political discrimination,
. In Wilno (Vilnius in Lithuanian**), where she lived with her family until 1945, this mainly meant bringing aid to people who were often discriminated against for their left-wing political views; during the German occupation she helped mostly Jewish victims as well as the poverty-stricken peasant population of Lebioda, her husband's family home (situated near Lida, currently in Belorussia**).
In 1987, Maria Fedecka was honoured by Yad Vashem for the help she had brought to numerous Jewish children and their families (not without personal sacrifice) thus saving many lives. A diploma of honour and a medal of the Righteous Amongst the Nations of the World were attributed to her, and a tree was planted in her memory.
Maria Fedecka remains - in the memory of those who knew her in the different periods of her life - as a person of great courage and of great moral vigilance - who was always able to perceive the injustice inflicted on her fellow man. Unconventional and non-conformist, belonging to no political party, she always acted according to her own principles. Where need be, she reacted by providing immediate and extremely efficient assistance.
After the war, when she was asked if she was conscious of the danger that her actions represented for her own children during the occupation, her answer was entirely characteristic: "How could I do otherwise when next door other children, Jewish children were perishing?" (In the "Reichskommissariat Ostland" and in the "General Government" people who helped Jews and their families risked the death penalty***).
In 1945, she took part in the "repatriation" action (displacement to Poland of those who did not want to abandon their Polish citizenship**) from Wilno, Maria Fedecka hastened to come to the aid of those young people who were threatened with prison and deportation in the USSR.
After having left Wilno, she lived mainly in Sopot (near Gdańsk in Poland**) and this is where she took the initiative of creating, with Zdzislaw Grabski and Michał Pankiewicz, the League for the Struggle Against Racism (rapidly liquidated for political reasons), which brought together a small number of Polish intellectuals, who were aware of the moral threat for the country's renewal in the aftermath of Kielce and other anti-semitic incidents.
Warsaw, 21 January 2004
Elzbieta Grabska-Wallis (1930-2004)
Art historian, Professor at the University of Warsaw.*
It was Mala and Benek Lasman from Jerusalem who took the initiative of suggesting to Yad Vashem that Maria Fedecka be recognized as one of the Righteous. It was also they who took the steps necessary for this citation (footnote B. and J. Bruner).
* pronounce Fedetska
Remark: In Polish, as in other Slavic languages (and also in Lithuanian) name endings often change according to gender. Thus, Maria Krzywiec when she married Stanislaw Fedecki became Maria Fedecka
** Translator's note
*** See, for instance: 1) Richard C. Lukas - "Forgotten Holocaust - The Poles under German Occupation 1939-1944", Hippocrene Books, New York, 2001; 2) Martin Gilbert - "The Righteous, The unsung Heroes of the Holocaust", Henry Holt and Company, New York, 2003.
(Translated from French and Polish by Richard Wagman and Marta Balinska.)