At the age of 94, Alfreda Markowska has passed away on 30 January 2021. She survived the Roma Holocaust during the Second World War and is a true Polish Romni Heroine, who saved more than fifty Romani and jewish children from from death at the hands of the Nazis.
She was born on 10 May 1926 in a Polska Roma tabor (mobile camp) to a traveling family in today’s Poland. She was the only survivor of the murder of her whole family, including her parents and siblings, by the Nazis in 1941. in this single massacre near Biała Podlaska between 65 to 85 members of her extended family were murdered. In 1942, at the age of 16, she married. Together, she and her husband, managed to repeatedly escape from Nazi German captivity and the Roma ghettoes in Lublin, Lodz and Belzen.
After this she managed to secure a permit for working on the railway, in Rozwadow, a Nazi labour camp for Roma. She would then travel to sites where massacres had taken place in order to look for survivors, hide them in her own home and obtain forged documents for them. She did all this at the greatest risk of her own life. Years later, when asked why she was not afraid to help, Markowska stated that at the time she did not expect to live through the war herself anyway, so fear was not an issue.
In October 2006, Alfreda Markowska was awarded the Commander’s Cross with Star of the Order of Polonia Restituta for saving Jewish and Roma children during World War II. The President of Poland commended her “for heroism and uncommon bravery, for exceptional merit in saving human lives”.
Our sincere condolences to her family. Alfreda forever will live in our memories. Na na bistrasa tut bibi! Lokhi teri phuv!