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The Helena Stupka Roundabout in Oświęcim

Rondo u zbiegu ulic Legionów i Maksymiliana Kolbego w Oświęcimiu otrzymało imię Heleny Stupki

The roundabout at the meeting of Legionów and M. Kolbego streets has been named – after Helena Stupka – particularly known for the aid she rendered KL Auschwitz prisoners.

The bill was passed by the Oświęcim Town Council on 26th August 2020. The roundabout is located in the proximity of the Lagerhaus, where, after renovation, the Remembrance Museum of the Land of Oświęcim Residents HQ will be located. The aim of the Remembrance Museum is to commemorate the inhabitants of the Land of Oświęcim who rendered aid to Auschwitz concentration camp prisoners.
The heroine from the times of the German occupation was born in present day Ukraine, though she spent her adult life in Oświęcim where she and her husband moved in the 1930’s.
Helena was part of the Underground movement during WWII, first as part of the Union of Armed Struggle, and then as part of the Home Army. She used the pseudonym Jadzka. After the creation of the concentration camp by the Germans, she began to organise aid for the prisoners. She organised food drops and passed on secret messages. She also formed the Committee for Aid to KL Auschwitz Political Prisoners and aided many escapees from Auschwitz including August Kowalczyk. She also participated in the preparation of other escapes.
After her arrest by the Gestapo in 1943, and her subsequent release, she went into hiding and continued working in the Resistance movement. After the war, she ran a drug store in Oświęcim. The 6th June 2020 marked 45 years since her death. She was 77.
The roundabout was due to have been named after Helena Stupka much earlier than this year, however, doubts were raised as to her activities after the war.
It was not until mid-July that the Institute of National Remembrance gave their approval of such a naming. The Director of the Office for Commemorating the Struggle and Martyrdom, Adam Siwek, wrote “It is my pleasure to inform you that in accordance with the Act on the prohibition of the promotion of Communism or other totalitarian regime by the names of organisational units, auxiliary units of the Commune, buildings, facilities and public utilities and monuments (Dz. U z 2018 r. poz. 1103) there is nothing to prevent the commemoration of Helena Stupka through the naming of a roundabout in Oświęcim after her.”

Photo: Roundabout at the meeting of Legionów and Kolbego streets has been named after Helena Stupka.