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Danuta Maria Wojnar Gorecka

Lwowek, Wielkopolskie, Poland
Death 29 Mar 2016 (aged 93)
Urbana, Champaign County, Illinois, USA
Burial Urbana, Champaign County, Illinois, USA
Memorial ID 161008213 · View Source
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Danuta Maria (Wojnar) Gorecka died at 2:58 p.m. Tuesday, March 29, 2016, at her home in Urbana.

Born in Lwow, Poland to Stanislaw (1891-1941) and Teodora Wojnar (b. Okoll: 1891-1975), she spent her childhood and adolescence in Lwow, Lodz and finally Krakow, where she, her mother and her two sisters lived during the Second World War.

Throughout the war, she was active in the principal Polish resistance group, the Home Army (Armia Krajowa), where she attained the rank of lieutenant, above all in intelligence and communication (including with the Home Army resistance cell in Auschwitz).

Outside this rank, both she and her immediate family helped Jews throughout the war. After the war, she remained in the anti-Soviet resistance group, Freedom and Independence (Wolnosc i Niezawislosc), for which she spent four years (initially sentenced to 12) in political prison. She remained in Krakow between her release from prison in 1952 and emigration from Poland in 1968.

After her release, she began study at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, with a principal interest in classical (Greek and Latin) philology and in law. At the university, she met, and soon thereafter married, Jan Gorecki (b. Stefan Jerzy Kraushar). This began several decades of marriage until her husband's death in 2001.

Unable to pursue advanced study or a university career in Poland because of her political activity, she became an attorney, while also, in 1966, receiving a doctorate in the legal and social history of Byzantium from the Jagiellonian University.

In 1968, she, her husband, her mother-in-law and her two children, Maria and Piotr, emigrated to the United States to settle permanently in Urbana. Until their respective retirements, she and her husband were both faculty members at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

In that capacity, as professor of library and information science, she held a series of important posts at the University Library, and embarked on a productive and distinguished output in her area of doctoral specialization, Byzantine history - a course she pursued actively, well into her retirement.

The final period of her life was punctuated by two major challenges. Firstly, her husband's (a Holocaust survivor) severe illness, beginning in 1998 and at times preceding his death demarcated by fear of even taking a shower (among other such symptoms); and, several years later, the progressive deterioration of her eyesight (culminating in blindness).

Her responses to both challenges reflect the enormous strength which has characterized her throughout her life. In this context, a most important moment was the reversal of her post-war political conviction and imprisonment, and a payment of damages, by a Polish military court, effected in 2012-2013.

Apart from a year-long stay in Riverside, Calif., and two lengthy stays in Poland, she spent the rest of her life in Urbana.

She died peacefully, of old age, surrounded by her beloved Chopin, under the loving care (and in the arms) of her daughter, Maria Gorecka-Nowak.

She is survived by her sister living in Krakow, Wanda Pasenkiewicz; her daughter, Maria (Radoslaw); her son, Piotr Gorecki (Renata); two granddaughters and her sisters' consistently supportive children, Waclaw (Krystyna) Pasenkiewicz, Marta Pasenkiewicz, and Lukasz Jacyna-Onyszkiewicz.

She was also predeceased by her sister, Zofia Jacyna-Onyszkiewicz and three brothers.

Published in the Champaign, Illinois News-Gazette.




  • Created by: Bob & Nancy Cannon
  • Added: 14 Apr 2016
  • Find A Grave Memorial 161008213
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Danuta Maria Wojnar Gorecka (29 Jun 1922–29 Mar 2016), Find A Grave Memorial no. 161008213, citing Mount Hope Cemetery and Mausoleum, Urbana, Champaign County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Bob & Nancy Cannon (contributor 46739623) .