Bozenna Urbanowicz Gilbride: Children of Terror
ENGLISH CORNER, CON LINDA JIMÉNEZ – This week’s trivia question: What was the UPA in World War II Ukraine?
Bozenna Urbanowicz was born into a Catholic family in 1934 in the far eastern area of Poland that borders on Ukraine. When the Germans invaded her town, her family was transported to Germany, where they, like many other Catholic Poles, were forced to work in slave labor camps. They eventually were able to immigrate to the United States, where she studied draping, fashion design and sewing and earned her living in the fashion industry.
The family never discussed their ordeal during the Holocaust, and Bozenna never intended to speak about it either, but her husband encouraged her to do so in 1988 after a Kristallnacht commemoration at her church. Since then, she has shared her experiences with audiences of all ages and backgrounds, both across the United States and internationally. She begins her talks by saying “I am a Polish Catholic Holocaust survivor.” She says that many of her listeners, especially students, were not aware of the fact that, aside from the six million Jews the Nazis murdered, at least five million others perished at their hands.
At one of her presentations about what she calls “the Holocaust of 11 million”, she met Inge Auerbacher, a Jewish survivor who was born the same year as she was. They became friends and eventually decided to write a book, Children of Terror, about their parallel experiences.
We spoke with Bozenna after one of her very moving presentations.