Zofia Odrobna

Zofia Odrobna, née Ogonowska (1917-1960)
Zofia Odrobna, née Ogonowska (1917-1960)

Zofia Odrobna (1917-1960) – the mother to “lost” children

 

This is the story of a woman who is scarcely known in her hometown of Przemyśl and who played an important role in the history of Polish “displaced persons” (DPs) and refugees in post-war Germany. In the post-war confusion she helped many of them to find somewhere to live, and others to build a new home. Zofia Odrobna was the wife of Kazimierz Odrobny, the long-standing chair of the League of Polish Refugees (Zjednoczenie Polskich Uchodźców) and other refugee organisations in the Federal Republic of Germany. For many years she lived in the shadow of her fiancé and later husband but this did not to depress her. Both followed their own calling: to help Polish DPs and refugees. Sadly Zofia Odrobna died at an early age. But she has remained indelibly etched in the minds of many Poles in Germany and Great Britain.

Zofia Irena Odrobna, (née Ogonowska) was born on 15. May 1917 in Żurawica, in the parish of Przemyśl, where she also spent her childhood and early youth. She was the oldest daughter of Tomasz Ogonowski and his wife, Bronisława, née Rak. She attended the local school from 1923 to 1927 and after the family moved to Przemyśl – she lived on the edge of the town in Kozanów Street in Zasanie – attended the girls grammar school there from 1927 to 1935. After getting good exam results in her A-levels, in 1936 she began a course in education in the humanist faculty at the Johann Kasimir University in Lemberg[1]. The keen young student was very similar to many of her fellow students. The Second World War broke out at the end of the third year after the border between the Third Reich and the Soviet Union was redrawn following the Ribbentrop-Mołotow pact. As a result she abandoned her studies and returned to Przemyśl. When the town was divided she moved with her parents and younger sister to the German sector where she found employment in an agricultural business just outside the gates of the town until October 1941. The occupying arms forced her to work as a kitchen girl in an army garrison between 1941 and 1943. When the situation of the German occupying forces deteriorated her sister Izabela was earmarked for forced labour in Germany. Since Zofia was some years older she asked to be substituted for the transport. In this way she succeeded in protecting her sister from the toils and labour in Germany. As a result Izabela was never sent to forced labour but lived with her parents in Przemyśl until the end of the war. Zofia was deported to Germany in mid March 1943 and arrived in Libur on 27. March that year: Libur is now a part of the district of Porz in Cologne, North Rhine Westphalia.

 

[1] Today: Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, Ukraine (editor´s note)

Media library
  • Abb. 1: Zofia Odrobna

    Zofia Odrobna, geb. Ogonowska (1917-1960)
  • Abb. 2: Zofia Ogonowska, Przemyśl-Lwów

    Zweite Reihe, von links: Zofia Ogonowska, Przemyśl-Lwów, zweite Hälfte der 1930er Jahre
  • Abb. 3: Zofia Odrobna bei der Arbeit im Lager

    Zofia Odrobna bei der Arbeit im Lager, Libur (undatiert)
  • Abb. 4: Ein Foto für Zosia von Jadzia

    Ein Foto für Zosia von Jadzia, Köln-Mülheim 1946
  • Abb. 5: Zofia Odrobna in Gesellschaft junger polnischer Flüchtlinge in einer Sommerfrische (ohne Ort und undatiert)

    Zofia Odrobna in Gesellschaft junger polnischer Flüchtlinge in einer Sommerfrische (ohne Ort und undatiert)
  • Abb. 6: Todesanzeige Zofia Odrobna, Velbert 1960

    Todesanzeige Zofia Odrobna, Velbert 1960
  • Abb.7: Beerdigung von Zofia Odrobna, 1960

    Beerdigung von Zofia Odrobna, Friedhofskapelle in Düsseldorf-Eller, 1960
  • Abb. 8: Grabstein von Zofia Odrobna auf dem Friedhof in Düsseldorf-Eller, 1960

    Grabstein von Zofia Odrobna auf dem Friedhof in Düsseldorf-Eller, 1960
  • Abb. 9: Beerdigung von Zofia Odrobna, geleitetet von Prälat Edward Lubowiecki und Pfarrer Jan Kubica

    Beerdigung von Zofia Odrobna, geleitetet von Prälat Edward Lubowiecki und Pfarrer Jan Kubica
  • Zofia Odrobna - Hörspiel von "COSMO Radio po polsku" auf Deutsch

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