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Ella’s love story: She has been blessed with nice people in her life

Ella Zamojski Tymchuk wasn’t born until 1946, but horrible stories about World War II are burned into her very soul. Fortunately, the salve of love is soothing.
Her whole life, in truth, is a love story that began in Raclawice Sl, Poland, where she grew up. It continues today in Suwanee, Ga., where on March 16, 2011, the day I telephoned her, she was celebrating her 47th year of marriage to Andrew.
“It’s impossible to tell you, Phil,” she said. “I have been blessed with nice people in my life. I am blessed with United States. I was just chosen. At that time, it was a communist system. No one left Poland. How it happened to me, I don’t know. It was faith.”
She remembers as a little girl the packages her mother received from the United States. She remembers the clean smell of new clothes, and she began to imagine: “There must be something beautiful on the other side.”
So when she was 16, she wrote to the men who sent those packages, and money, and she asked them a favor.
“I told them there was nothing I wanted or needed, but if there was any way…,” she said, her sentence trailing off. The next year, after she had finished high school, her dream arrived in an envelope. It contained an invitation, a visa and a ticket. “Wladzia (Ella),” her mother said as her daughter prepared to leave, “I will not be there to lift you up when you are down. Be brave and strong.”
Ella Zamojski arrived in New York City in 1963. Her hosts met her and took her to their apartment to be part of the family. “They opened the refrigerator, showed me the food and said, ‘Help yourself. We are on our way to work.’”
The next day, Ella found her way to the Polish National Home in East Manhattan, where other Polish people gathered on weekends. There she met Andrew from the Ukraine. They were married a few months later. They now have four sons — all college graduates — four daughters-in-law and nine grandchildren.
Over dinner about four years ago, Ella told Andrew, “I have to go see Mr. Shapiro.” That was his name: Bernard Shapiro, the man who took her in, the man who sent packages to a Catholic widow with five children, the man — the Jewish man — who owed his life to Ella’s parents. You see, the Zamojskis had hidden several Jewish families from the Nazis during the war — in the stable, in the attic, under the ground. Bernard Shapiro was one of them. He died about two weeks after Ella’s visit. Abby Standard was another. He had died earlier.
But Ella visited with Michael Standard, the son, who told her about visiting the Western Wall in Jerusalem and about writing two names on a piece of paper and leaving it in a crack of the sacred structure.
They were the names of Mary and Nicholas Zamojski, Ella’s parents.
Phil Hudgins’ column is published in many newspapers around the Southeast.