Alina Margolis Edelman

Jewish Holocaust Survivor

Interview language: Polish

Alina Margolis and her friend were hidden under false identity in a Polish family. The family was nationalistic and when the father of this family discovered that his neighbors’ nanny was hiding two little Jewish boys under the terrace he decided to hand them over to the Germans.


Alina Margolis-Edelman was born on April 18, 1922, in Łódź, Poland, in a prominent intellectual family. Shortly after the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, Alina's father, political activist, was arrested by the Gestapo and executed two months later. Alina's mother sent Alina to extended family in Warsaw where she was soon confined—along with the other Jews—to the Warsaw ghetto. While in the ghetto, Alina attended the Nursing School of the Jewish Hospital. She was able to periodically leave the ghetto and hid in non-Jewish homes. In hiding, Alina befriended several Jewish resistance fighters and took part in the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. During the 1944 Warsaw Polish Uprising, she worked as a nurse. After the liberation, Alina completed her medical education and married fellow survivor, commander in the Zydowska Organizacja Bojowa (ZOB) Marek Edelman. The couple had two children, Aleksander and Anna. In the wake of antisemitic actions by the Communist Polish authorities in 1968, Alina and her two children emigrated from Poland to France. After the war, Alina was active in philanthropic work; she was one of the founders of the Doctors without Borders Foundation and the Doctors of the World Foundation, helping children—victims of war and hunger all over the world. She died in Paris in 2008.

Language: Polish