Survivor STORY

Janina Prinz Kozma was born in Golatin, Poland. Her family moved to Gdynia before settling in Krakow. Janina spent the war years in hiding in a convent in Krakow.

After the war, Janina met her husband, Ike Kozma, with whom she fled to France, where their son, George, was born. Janina and Ike lived in France for ten years before emigrating to Atlanta, where Ike's sister, Cecile Kozma Dziewienski had resettled with her husband.


That was two days before Christmas in '44, two days before Christmas, and I was staying with that girl which took me from the convent to her apartment. And the 18th of January, the Russian came. And so we were liberated, but they evacuated the prison, so I don't know if they killed my mother in the prison or during the evacuation.

Life and Survival in Europe

And then my husband say, "We have to legalize ourselves because we are illegally in France. We have German DP papers, which are not, it's not a passport. We are illegally in France and we will be arrested." So next morning we came to Nancy, the 1st, the 1st of November. And then we came to Paris on the 5th, the 4th, we went to go to take pictures, go to the prefecture, the police, to take our temporary papers, ID. So we were sitting on the big boulevard, and drinking coffee and having breakfast and all of a sudden I got in pain. I got in pain, and we couldn't go, never make it, we never made it to make the pictures, to go to the prefecture, the police. And my husband didn't, we didn't speak French then. My husband called a taxi. Taxi didn't ask anything, looked at me and took me to the Rothschild Hospital ... in France. They didn't ask anything either because they had socialized medicine. So they didn't ask who going to pay for it or whatever. They admitted me to the hospital and they told my husband to go and say, "Come tomorrow, because that's the first child, so it will take a little longer."

So I came the 4th to the hospital. My son was born the next morning. And there were sixteen room, woman in the room, sixteen babies in the middle, no nursery. And they kept the woman eight days in a hospital in France at that time. So my husband didn't come one day, second day, third day. And the women start asking me, "You got a husband?" "When I came here I had a husband."

The fourth day he came, and he was arrested. He went to a hotel. He didn't want to stay at the friend's house, so he went to the hotel. At the hotel they were checking the lists. They saw the name - who is he? He didn't have any papers; they arrested him. And when they arrested him, with the interpret, he explained everything. He said, his wife is having baby over there, and they checked out. They gave him temporary papers and they said, when your wife is ready, bring your wife and baby. It's not like here what you fill out the paper and mail for, you know, to renew your papers, you had to go and spend the whole day at the prefecture, the police, with the newborn baby. So that's what happened. After eight days when I was ready, I went back to the hotel where my husband was, and we went to the prefecture and we got temporary papers for three months, then for six months, then for a year. And we were staying in France ten years. And we were. My husband was working as a furrier.

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Janina Prinz Kozma