Time travel back to Christmas 1958 in Bethlehem Connecticut when Caroline hosted the Rabbits of Ravensbruck

In 1958 Caroline Ferriday invited four lucky Polish women from the group of 52 “Rabbits” visiting the U.S. for treatment to stay with her at her lovely home.  Above and below, the women first arriving.

Rabbits arriving at The Hay

Caroline servingHere, the women share a meal and clean up in Caroline’s kitchen.

Washing up


Love that crooked little Christmas tree!

Caroline at the kitchen table with RabbitsCaroline writes in her letters that she came to think of the women as her daughters. Below, Maria Kusmierczuk, Helena Piasecka, Caroline, Wladyslawa Karolewska, Dzido-Hassa.


Caroline accompanies the Polish women on her guitar.

Below, Caroline’s visitors outside The Hay. Caroline had the porte-cochere removed soon after the visit, to bring the house back to its original design.

One of my favorite pictures, below, of Caroline and Jadwiga on the stairs of The Hay.

Caroline and Jadwiga

Below, Maria Kusmierczuk, who testified at the Doctors Trial, against the doctors who experimented on the women, visiting the creche at the Bethlehem, Ct. town green.


The ladies, below, on the steps of Merrill Brothers Store in Bethlehem.

Merrill General Store Bethlehem

Buying fruit at Merrill Brothers


Below, Caroline and Maria make the bed at The Hay.


Leaving at the end of their wonderful trip, which included a tour of Disneyland, must have been as hard for the women. Caroline writes in her letters that she was terribly sad to see them go.

8 thoughts on “Time travel back to Christmas 1958 in Bethlehem Connecticut when Caroline hosted the Rabbits of Ravensbruck”

  1. Wonderful photos of the women at Caroline’s for Christmas….the juxtaposition between what they experienced and the dignity and beauty of Caroline’s home and life in Bethlehem is inspiring. Amazing that you found these photos.

  2. I just finished reading “Lilac Girls,” all the reviewers
    warned about it taking you in with a vengeance, but little
    did I know…

    These pictures are WONDERFUL…so helpful to see the actual
    heroines of this bittersweet story.

    Thank you for posting this, it helps make the transition
    from turning the final page of the book, to reality in
    all its manifestations.

    1. Oh my, I couldn’t have said it better!! Just did exactly what you said. Sad to realize it was the final page, read the Author’s note, then immediately went to the internet! Wonderful, haunting book.

  3. Wow was going to be my first word to you as I just finished every single word from cover to cover. But you mesmerized me even beyond the book with photos,etc. I was born in 1943 and grew up on Long Island in a carefree world of fun and freedom and to hear what went on outside my joyous world shocked me. Your thoroughness and research is amazing. Thanks for everything. Best book I ever read. What a history lesson.

Comments are closed.