Biography

​​Aleksandra Mianowska​

Poland

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​​Aleksandra was an outstanding Polish theater actress. During the war she was in the resistance movement. She helped Polish soldiers get to the Polish army in the West. Under occupation, she helped Jews, for which she was honored with the title of Righteous Among the Nations.​

​​Aleksandra Mianowska (née Siwadłowska) was born on 16 July 1912. After the outbreak of the Second World War, she became involved in charity work and resistance activities.  

When the German army invaded, Aleksandra joined the Polish Red Cross in Kraków. She was then transferred to a hospital in the Lublin region to help with the registration of those injured and killed in the fighting. She must have hoped to find some information about her husband who was injured while serving in the Polish army during the German invasion.  

Having returned to Kraków, Mianowska started volunteering as a nurse at the hospital for Polish prisoners. Officially she was there as a Polish Red Cross delegate, yet under the pseudonym “Kama” she was providing all sorts of help to the ill and injured on behalf of the resistance. Her other aliases were Alina Sieprawska and Alina Saciłowska. She was arrested by the Gestapo in December 1940 and spent six weeks in the Montelupich prison where she wrote her famous “Montelupich Anthem”: 

Montelupich is so fun, 
is so fun, 
Being here is simply grand, 
simply grand, 
In the morning, in the evening, 
Heizel*, give us grub galore 
Who’s never stayed in Montelupich 
Should regret […] 

Heizel was the name prisoners used to describe the person who delivered meals to the cells.  

Mianowska was released from prison due to her friends’ interventions and continued her charity work in the Central Welfare Council, one of few Polish social organisations tolerated by the occupiers. She also continued her resistance activities. Mianowska aided soldiers of the Home Army and cooperated with the Żegota (Council to Aid Jews). 

After the war Mianowska was employed in Kraków in the antiquarian bookshop belonging to a famous bookseller Stefan Kamiński, she also was a lecturer at the Jagiellonian University. She had not found out about her husband’s death until 1946 – he died in 1939. She never remarried. Having graduated from the Ludwik Solski State Drama School in Kraków in 1960, she obtained the professional title of theatrical director. Aleksandra Mianowska died on 9 November 2000.