Date: 21st of May 1946
On 17th of May 1946, Stanisław Rożek was admitted to our sanatorium at the request of his mother, Eva Weiss. The patient presented with a classic case of post-traumatic stress disorder combined with psychotic episodes and a suspicion of schizophrenia. The initial evaluation hasn’t yet confirmed schizophrenia; Dr. Wysocki’s report is due tomorrow. We will take it from there though at Stanisław’s age the results may still be inconclusive and it’s too early to be sure.
The patient has been left in our care for an unspecified period of time with his mother moving to Palestine.
Stanisław Rożek, born on 27th of August 1928 in Lvov, was the only child of Eva Weiss and Abraham Goldberg. Their names and surnames were legally changed after their escape from the concentration camp at the Yanovska Street. Avraham Goldberg was murdered by the Nazis when they entered Galicia in 1941 and his body was burned on the street outside their home on Rycerska Street. According to Mrs. Weiss (the mother remarried), previously Chava Goldberg, then Rożek, Stanisław (previously Salo) witnessed the incident.
The family owned a well-prospering business, which at the same time was vandalised and burned leaving Eva without any means to support herself and the child.
According to Mrs. Weiss, no members of her family survived the war. On the side of her deceased husband, she is not sure, but according to her knowledge he only had one brother and his whereabouts are unknown. Her belated husband’s parents died in a pogrom in a village north of Lvov.
Mrs. Weiss briefly mentioned that both her and her son were placed in a concentration camp, but were at first separated. Initially he was taken care of by one of her neighbours. She refused to discuss what happened at length, but she mentioned that along with a couple of other people she managed to break into the camp where her son was placed and run away with him. Upon closer questioning she refused to present any further details. She was very distressed and became tearful so I dropped the matter at this moment and plan to pursue it further when she has time to calm down and adjust to the new life. We agreed to correspond regularly in order to offer her son the best possible care.
She mentioned however that Stanisław has a phobia of dogs which must have developed during the time he spent in the camp, because previously he was very fond of dogs. He is a bit underdeveloped, but I attribute it to the lack of proper nourishment.
The patient is visibly withdrawn and his mood swings on the scale of 1-10 are at least 8. He doesn’t talk unless spoken to first and even then utters only a few words at a time. He wants to eat, but his body seems to refuse larger portions of food. He stuffs his pockets with it and hides it under his bed. He protests every time we try to remove it. He wets his bed at night and has nightmares. He’s had episodes of screaming and self-harm. He’s been reportedly violent to his step-father, whom his mother married two months ago. The mother has just received Polish citizenship and is determined to live in Palestine with her son when he becomes more stable.
Dr. Magdalena Cegielska
Mrs. Weiss’ letter to Stanisław Rożek, dated 3rd of January 1948
I love you very much. I hope that you feeling well and eating a lot.
I received a letter from Doktór Cegielska and she told me about your progress. I am very happy to hear that. I am sorry I had to leave you, I hope you will be able to forgive me one day. I also know that you have been anxious about not receiving my letters, but it’s not easy at this time since the post doesn’t always work.
We have a home here now and I am arranging your room. It even has a balcony overlooking the garden. It’s big and green, just the way you like it, and there’s a swing too. You will be able to play there all day long.
We are waiting for you in Palestine and soon we will be a family again. Be nice to everyone and remember that I am missing you every day.
Mrs. Weiss’ letter to Dr. Cegielska, dated 3rd January 1948
Thank you so much for updating me with regards to my son’s progress. I know that you are doing all you can, but I think eventually we will need to accept the fact that he will always be haunted by what happened to him. Perhaps it will change one day. The most important thing for us as a family is that his aggression level has dropped; this will hopefully enable us to live together and care for him with the help of specialists here.
Take all the time you need to get him better. We are unable to bring him here at this time. There are the talks about the British leaving and possibly the beginning of another war. We need to think strategically. Stasio will require a lot of help here too while adjusting to the new reality. My husband isn’t feeling very well and has been diagnosed with ischaemic pulmonary embolism. The doctors are saying that he needs to take care of himself because there is a danger of stroke.
Our solicitor will pay your fees for another year, because I am worried about the frequency of contact that we will be able to have. I am also attaching another five letters to my son and I am asking you to give him one at a time every other month or so, which will hopefully keep his anxiety at bay and give us time to see what is going to happen here until we will be able to bring him over.
Please continue corresponding with me regardless and I will immediately repond.
Very best wishes.
Disclaimer: Names, dates and places have been changed to protect confidentiality. All stories, however, are true.
The purpose of this publication is to present the nature of my work and to show my take on the lives of people, who for the Nazi system were nothing more than numbers. I wanted to present them as more than just case numbers, give them voices and build a story based on nothing more than dry facts.