Padowicz, Barbara (1912 - 1973)
(from information available thus far)

A cousin of noted artist, Artur Szyk.

Born into a wealthy Jewish family in Lodz, Poland. Married Nathan Padowicz in Poland. After his suicide, married industrialist Leon "Lolek" Waisbrem and lived in Warsaw. She escaped the country after the outbreak of WWII in 1939 with her son Julian (born in 1933) to Brazil, later found her way to the United States. Meanwhile, her husband joined the Polish Army to fight the Germans.

About her journey out of Europe she wrote a book "Flight to Freedom" published in 1942 by Duell, Sloan and Pierce, New York. It was the first book published about a war refugee's plight and garnered her much publicity.

Her son, Julian Padowicz wrote a book called "Mother And Me: Escape From Warsaw 1939" published in 2006.

In 1945, in London, she married Pierre Gabard (who died in 1967), who would later become Consul for France in Philadelphia. During her stay in Philadelphia she and her husband lived at 2102 Spruce Street which she decorated with imported French Louis XV furniture. She was a well-known and admired socialite.

She committed suicide while depressed, leaping from her New York City apartment window on Dec. 31, 1973. The event took place at 2:50 AM, at 737 Park Ave where she had a 12th floor apartment, a man named Seward Kennedy was with her at the time.

Obituary text (New York Times, Jan 1, 1974):
Gabard, Barbara - beloved wife of the late Pierre Gabard Consul General of France to Philadelphia, devoted mother of Julian Padowicz, loving grandmother of Karen, Joanne and Nadine Padowicz. Reposing Frank E. Campbell, Madison Ave. at St. Jean de Baptiste RC Church at 76th Street Wednesday, 10 A.M. Interment private.

From: various sources, mainly "The New York Times"