Maria Hochberg-Mariańska

Maria Hochberg-Mariańska (1913–1996), a Polish Jewess, collected evidence of the experiences of children under Nazi persecution and was a founding member of the Jewish Historical Commission.

© Wiener Library Collections
Maria Hochberg-Mariańska, place and date unknown.

Hochberg-Mariańska was born into a family of farmers living near Kraków. She studied Polish literature and history at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków in the 1930s and then worked as a writer and journalist. During the war, Hochberg-Mariańska was a forced labourer in the Kraków Ghetto until 1941, at which point she obtained false papers under the name of Maria Gorska, allowing her to live outside of the ghetto. Hochberg-Mariańska worked for the underground Polish Socialist Party and for Żegota, the Council for Aid to the Jews of the underground Homeland army.

© ITS Digital Archive, Bad Arolsen,
Extract from the post-war International Tracing Service file about Hochberg-Mariańska. In this record, Hochberg-Mariańska’s surname is listed first as her assumed name of Gorska, then as Piotrowski, which was the false name that that her husband Mordechai lived under during the war.
© Wiener Library Collections
Hochberg-Mariańska’s and Noe Grüss’ book "The Children Accuse", originally published in Polish in 1947 as "Dzieci żydowskie oskarżają".

After the war, Hochberg-Mariańska was the head of the Child Care Department at the Provincial Committee of Jews in Kraków until 1948. She collected testimonies on the experiences of Jewish children under German occupation, subsequently published as The Children Accuse (1947). The children had primarily survived in hiding, often in forests and bunkers. Hochberg-Mariańska recorded their experiences of ghetto and camp life, resistance and survival. She was also one of the founders of the Jewish Historical Commission in Poland.

Under the name Miriam Peleg, she settled in Israel in 1949. She worked at Yad Vashem for twenty years. The account of her wartime experiences in Kraków was published as Witnesses: Life in Occupied Kraków (1991). She died in Tel Aviv in 1996.