Franceska Michalska was born in 1923 in Kamieniec Podolski, Ukraine. Miraculously, she survived the great famine of the era, and in 1936, when she was twelve, her family, along with thousands of Poles from pre-partition Poland, were exiled to Kazakhstan. During WWII she was sent to one of the Red Army field hospitals before being transferred to work in an orphanage. In 1941, she began medical studies in Almaty. Inching further and further west to other medical universities, first in Kharkiv, then in Chernivtsi, she finally found herself in Poland. In 1949 she graduated from Medicine at the University of Wrocław. Until her death in 2016 Michalska remained a well-known pediatrician and was visited by patients from all over the country. On April 10, 2017, she became the patron of the Care and Treatment Institute for Children and Youth in Baciki Środa. Stubborn Life was a finalist for the COGITO Literary Award 2008, and has been published in Polish and French.
Photograph © BARTOSZ BOBKOWSKI / Agencja Wyborcza.pl