Centrum im. Ludwika Zamenhofa
Mediateka CLZ
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Oral history

Memories and experience are some of the most valuable gifts that the older generation can give to the younger. In the LZC Media Library we collect valuable accounts of witnesses of history, we compile and share them.

The interviews are recorded using the narrative-biographical method, which involves recording the free expression of a witness about their entire life. This type of narrative takes into account the subjective perspective of such issues as: local culture, ethnicity, tradition and customs, religion, or identity. Stories recorded in this way are unique, different for each person. Thanks to this, they allow to get to know the individual view of people who saw the interwar period, World War II and the beginnings of the Polish People’s Republic with their own eyes.

We are constantly looking for witnesses of history – people who have spent the last 60, 70 and more years in Białystok and would like to tell us the story of their lives, describe important events as they remember them. If you are such a person or know someone who would like to tell their story, please contact the BCC/LZC.

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Ostaszewska Helena

Ostaszewska Helena

Helena Ostaszewska, born on August 20th, 1922 in Zastawia, near Choroszcz, the child of Maria (nee Nierodzińska) and Piotr Ambrożewicz. Her father and her father-in-law, built houses and stoves. In May 1928 her family moved to Białystok, to Bagnowska Street (Wygoda district). Between 1929 and 1936 she attended the Emilia Pater 4th Primary School at Starobojarska. In 1935 she joined the Polish Scouting and Guiding Association, where she was a Scout Leader of the Emilia Plater 10th Scout Troop until 1939. She was a member of such organisations as the Polish Red Cross, Country Defense League, Sodality (Catholic laic association). From May 1939 she worked as a salesclerk at the Unity Christian Cooperative Association`s store at Jesienna Street. During the Soviet occupation she attended a 10 grade night school, she was in grade 6. She became the deputy supervisor of the store. During the Nazi occupation (between 1941 and 1943) she was a waitress at a hotel for Wermacht officers, at the corner of Ogrodowa and Sienkiewicza Street. After the war she joined the effort to restore the structure of the Polish Scouting and Guiding Association, for example she led the first cultural troop in the city called Hopka. In 1945 she took a six-month teacher course and became a contract teacher at the 7th Pirmary School at Wiatrakowa Street. She attended a night high school, after the first semester she moved to a Teacher High School. Between 1946 and 1947 she taught Polish at the 6th Primary School at Mazowiecka Street. Later she moved to the 3rd Primary School at Gdańska Street and to the Exercise School at Mickiewicza Street. In 1951 she graduated from High School. She attended the Teacher Study in Białystok. From 1956 she recommenced her activity in the Polish Scouting and Guiding Association. In 1965 she enrolled in the Higher Teacher School in Gdańsk (Polish major), she began her Master`s studies at the Higher Teacher School in Rzeszów, in 1971 she received her M.A. She worked as a teaching methodology inspector at the Education Superintendenture in Białystok. She has been writing since her school years. She occasionally published from 1975. She is an author of more than 30 books of poetry and prose. She received numerous prizes in important Polish competitions. She died the 9th of March 2017.

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