Jadwiga Kartus
(Jane Danziger)

This portrait of teenage Jadwiga was taken after the war, when she was on her way to Palestine/Israel. Michael Danziger private collection.

Born January 10, 1929, Jadwiga Kartus (Jane Danziger) was the third of six children. Her father was a partner at a local bank. She grew up in an affluent family in the heart of Będzin (Pilsudskiego Street 3) with three generations of her family. Their home was looked after by Polish servants. She was an exceptional student, and her friends would invite themselves over so they could get help with homework. Her husband grandfather, Hanoch Danziger (also Jadwiga’s great uncle) was among the first people murdered by the Nazis when they occupied the town in September 1939.

Her mother and grandmother died in the ghetto of illnesses that could have been easily treated with proper medical attention. In 1942, her older sister Chaja was deported to an unknown destination and not heard from again. In 1943, her older brother Jakob was deported and murdered in Gross-Masselwitz. In 1943, her three younger sisters (Paula, Regina, and Ruchla) were taken directly to Auschwitz. At the selection, Jadwiga was mistakenly believed to be older than fourteen and was taken to the camp at Gunterbrucke. Later moved to Klettendorf, she ultimately ended up in Ludwigsdorf to work as slave laborer in an underground ammunition factory for the Nazis. There she suffered from the long daily marches to work and from the daily indignities of strip searches and beatings. She was liberated on May 9, 1945. Her father was deported to Auschwitz in June of 1943, where he worked in the infirmary, with his brother, a doctor. Only days before Auschwitz was liberated by the Russians, her father was murdered.

This photo is taken inside Kamionka, the ghetto of Będzin. Jadwiga’s sister Chaja is standing in front of the wagon (middle, with an armband on her right arm). Michael Danziger private collection.

She met her husband Arthur Danziger in Israel. Jadwiga and Arthur immigrated to the United States in 1956. Of the more than 150 members of her extended family believed to have lived in and around Będzin before 1939, Jadwiga and her cousin Mayer Ber Danziger are the only known survivors.