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Locked in the Darkness
Retrieving a Hidden Girl's Identity from the Holocaust
Sabina Heller
In association with the Holocaust Survivors' Memoirs Project
(2012) ISBN: 0-9814686-7-9 Cat. No. 814
217 PP., Soft cover, 15X23 cm.
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This is a dramatic and moving story of rescue, separation, and rediscovery of a lost identity and lost memory. As an infant, Sabina (Inka) Kagan was given to the care of a local Christian family by her parents, who were desperate to save her from the impending Nazi liquidation of their Jewish community in the small town of Radziwiłłów. Sabinas parents hid but were discovered and murdered. The foster family neglected the infant, leaving her to starve to death in a cellar, but the neighboring Roztropowicz family discovered her and took her in, at great risk to their lives.


The Rostropowiczes nursed Sabina back to health and provided her with a warm, loving home. Inka became the youngest sibling; the Roztropowicz parents became her parents, A mother given by God, as Natalia Roztropowicz believed. After the war, Jewish representatives persuaded the Rostropowiczes to return Sabina to her people. Seeking the best for her, especially in consideration of their antisemitic neighbors among whom Sabina would have grown up, they let Sabina be taken to a Jewish orphanage in Łódź. There a staff physician, Dr. Goszczewski, and her husband decided to adopt her and move to Israel.

Sabina lost contact with her Polish family and gradually forgot them as she settled into life in Israel. The Goszczewskis Israeli cousin, Nehemiah Rabin, the father of Yitzhak Rabin, helped them settle in and integrate into Israeli life. Sabina became Ina Goszczewski, and her adoptive parents never spoke to her about her past. Sabina discovered the truth only in 1999, after her mothers death, and was then able to reconstruct her past. She reconnected with her Polish family, who were soon honored by Israel as Righteous Among the Nations. Sabinas story concludes with a fitting closure - retrieval of her past and reunion with her Polish Catholic wartime family.

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