Behind the Painting: Dr. Halina Wiczyk’s Parents

Barbara and Stan Wiczyk’s lives were an amazing story. As medical students in Warsaw, Poland just prior to and at the start of World War II, Jewish studentts were segregated to a special bench. Barbara and Stan Wiczyk refused to sit on these “Jewish benches”, and in protest they stood throughout their medical studies. Dr. Stan worked with the Polish Army for a few years. When he realized that the Nazis were closing in, he and Dr. Barbara, fled to a small town. There, they were fortunate to meet several wonderful Polish Catholics who helped save them and remarry them with false papers. As part of their disguise Dr. Barbara played the church organ and cleaned houses; A woman physician in those days would most certainly be suspected of being Jewish. Meanwhile, Dr. Stan practiced as a physician in that town, and he also became a resistance fighter although they never knew he was Jewish.

Barbara and Stan Wiczyk

Barbara and Stan Wiczyk

After the war, Dr. Stan was in charge of a hospital in Soviet occupied Poland. Unfortunately, the Communists did not like his politics, and imprisoned him for a year and a half, six months of which were in solitary confinement. Barbara worked tirelessly to gain his freedom, and they were finally allowed to leave Poland in 1958, spending a year and a half in Israel, and then coming to the US in 1960. They both practiced medicine in the US and lived until well into their 90’s. They had two daughters, five grandchildren, and six great grandchildren. With each new birth, Stan Wiczyk always felt he gained his revenge on Hitler.

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