Seventy years ago : Cyganeria
12 22 2012\
On the night of December 22, 1942, members of Krakow’s Jewish underground attacked the Cyganeria café, a meeting place for Wehrmacht and Gestapo officers, killing eleven and wounding thirteen Germans.
"They didn’t know how to be a military organization. They were a youth movement through and through…"
The Fighting Pioneer underground in Krakow decided to operate outside the ghetto, targeting German forces spread out throughout the city, and to engage in actions that no one would suspect were perpetrated by Jews. On the night of 22 December 1942, members of this underground struck the Cyganeria Café, where Wehrmacht and Gestapo officers had gathered to celebrate Christmas.
“They truly had no idea how to function as a military organization. They were a youth movement through and through …Nearly all of them had lost home and family, and this young group had become their last refuge, the only haven for the feelings they now clung to with great devotion. The more their faith in humanity diminished as they witnessed constant scenes of evil and barbarism, the stronger their faith grew in each other, to the exclusion of all else. They loved one another with a strange devotion, constantly seeking each other out, and would meet frequently, seemingly by chance, but always in groups. Their gay laughter and strange sense of freedom made it unlikely they would go unnoticed.”
(Gusta Davidson, Justyna’s Narrative)
Havka Folman-Raban, a founding member of Kibbutz Lohamei Haghetaot, where she still lives, was a member of the Dror movement and the Jewish Combat Organization (?OB), and operated as a courier. Arrested following the action of the Krakow Jewish underground in the Cyganeria Café, she was sent to Auschwitz. Havka teaches and guides groups in Ghetto Fighters’ House.