‘With God’s Help We Will Take Care of Her’

The Fellowship  |  April 13, 2021

Inka and her adoptive mother
(Photo: Yad Vashem)

Not until she was 57 years old did Sabina learn who she really was. That she had been a baby found and rescued during the Holocaust, raised by a family of brave Christians. Only after learning her true story from a researcher at the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, Poland, did Sabina know she had once been a Jewish child named Inka, sheltered by Righteous Gentiles.

A Baby Named Inka

In early 1943, a Polish teenager named Zofia discovered a baby alone in a dark cellar. The child, Jewish and marked for death by the invading Nazis, had been abandoned there. Zofia took the baby to the home of two friends, Janina and Stanislawa Roztropowicz. The girls’ parents, Jozef and Natalia, were very poor, and knew the dangers of harboring a Jew. But they couldn’t let this precious child die, so they took the girl in, named her Irena (Inka, for short), and raised her as their own.

As the war raged, as food became difficult to find, still the family cared for little Inka. “With God’s help we will take care of her,” Jozef faithfully said. And take care of her, they did, until three years after World War II ended. Then, a committee searching for Jewish children separated from their families during the Holocaust found the little girl. Knowing this was Inka’s opportunity to live in Israel, her people’s historic and biblical homeland, the Roztropowicz family let her go live with an adoptive Israeli family.

A Woman Named Sabina

Wanting to avoid unnecessary pain, Inka’s new family never told her the truth of her past. Raised in Israel as Sabina, Inka never knew that Janina and Stanislawa spent years searching for the baby their family saved. Yad Vashem, Israel’s official Holocaust memorial, helped her at last fill in her history. Inka, then 57, traveled to Poland to meet the sisters who saved her life. And in 2000, she attended the ceremony at Yad Vashem that named all four members of the Roztropowicz family who saved her, a Jewish baby, as Righteous Among the Nations.

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