Zofia Teliga-Mertens who is 89 now by herself brought to Poland over 200 Poles from Kazahstan and gave them shelter.
Zofia herself lived in Kazahstan for many years. Her parents were dispossessed and brought out of Poland in 1940. Zofia was 13 years old at this time. Her father died from typhus, together with her mother she nearly died for dysentery. In 1946 Zofia and her mother returned to Poland and settled in Wroclaw. She finished her studies, made a PhD and got married twice.
After many years of struggle Zofia had received compensation for their parents’ lands almost 600 thousands from over 2,4 millions. The government paid her by giving 3 ruined buildings close to Boleslawiec. She took credit and renovated old buildings so they could be used as apartments for Poles brought back from Kazahstan. During 10 years she managed to save over 40 families. She established special association for repatriates called Helpful Hand. At first she signed agreements with people who lived in her apartments and then gave ownership to them. Even now she collects useful things that are thrown away by her neighbours: furniture, clothes etc as they might be used by families she took care of.
Zofia Teliga-Mertens gave everything she had only to help others. She says: After returning from Kazahstanshe understood that there was nothing too hard to manage. The lack of everything that is crucial for survival she experienced there became a gift, showed her different dimension of life.