Friday, June 30, 2006

I will go for her (Marianna Biernacka)

Before the Nazi occupation of Poland, Adolf Hitler is said to have authorized his commanders to kill “without pity or mercy, all men, women, and children of Polish decent or language. Only in this way can we obtain the living space we need.” During their occupation of Poland, the Gestapo would round up and kill Polish civilians in retaliation for any Germans killed by the resistance.

In July 1943, the Nazis conducted a mass arrest in the city of Lipsk as an act of reprisal for the Germans who were killed during the resistance. The names of Stanislaw Biernacka, together with his pregnant wife Anna, were in the list of those who were going to be killed. The Biernacka family were never politically active and poorly educated. Hence you can imagine their deep surprise when German soldiers knocked at their door to arrest Stanislaw and Anna Biernacka.

Early in the morning, the armed soldiers came to arrest Stanislaw and Anna. Stanislaw’s fifty-five-year-old mother, Marianna, fell on her knees and asked the Nazis to take her instead of Anna. Marianna was a simple woman, for whom God and his laws are the most important value, even more important than freedom. She said as the soldiers were taking the couple, “She is already in the last weeks of her pregnancy. I will go for her.” At first, Anna objected. But Marianna told her, “You are young, you must live.” The Nazis released Anna and took Marianna together with her son to the prison in Grodno.

According to witnesses, Marianna spent her time in prayer. While in prison, she requested for a rosary and a pillow. A parcel was sent to her, but it was not known if the parcel reached her. On July 13, 1943, she was shot to death together with her son and 48 other people in Naumowicze, near Grodno. Marianna Biernacka’s selfless sacrifice saved the life of her daughter-in-law and her grandchild.


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