Our Founder | Halina Pradzynski
Growing up in the little town of Plock, Poland, Halina had precious few idyllic years before WWII changed everything. Two years into her high school curriculum, the Nazis invaded Poland, and her family made a hasty dash for Warsaw where Halina worked and fought in the Polish Underground Movement. There, she was able to attend underground classes conducted by intellectuals of all academic fields. Before the war ended, Halina had married a Polish resistance leader. Unfortunately, he was later killed by Nazis on a street in Warsaw.
Halina, just 21 at the time, was captured by the Nazis and taken to a prisoner of war camp where she tended the wounded in a field hospital. After a few months, she was able to escape to Krakow, which was liberated by the Soviets in January 1945.
Once the war ended, Halina’s family moved again, to Wroclaw, Poland, where she helped rebuild the nearly destroyed city and reestablish the first Polish Administration. She went on to study medicine for two years at the University of Wroclaw where she re-kindled her relationship with a man she had dated before the war. That man, Andrzej Pradzynski, a chemistry student and Auschwitz survivor, became her husband. Although the birth of her children impeded her plans for a medical degree, she later went on to attend a school specializing in professional methods of skincare, beauty and hygiene where upon graduation, she did a six-month internship at a dermatology hospital in Warsaw.
Her passion for scientific skincare ablaze, in 1958 she went to Paris to study at Helena Rubenstein Beauty Institute in Paris and then continued on to manage a salon in Warsaw. She later moved to Vienna, Austria to further her career in an exclusive salon there.
In 1969, she and her husband, a cosmetic chemist, moved to Austin, Texas where the University of Texas at Austin had offered him a research position.
Prior to coming to America, Halina had been living a very fulfilling European life, working in exclusive skincare salons for years, regarded as an expert in skincare, and loved by her clients. Upon arriving in the United States, the formerly hard-working, proficient authority on skincare suddenly found herself in a situation where she was neither competent nor confident—not being able to speak the language of her newly adopted country was a frustrating and demoralizing experience for her. Not only did it make daily life challenging, but also it made the prospect of working in her beloved industry, helping people with chronic skin conditions like acne and irritated skin, seem like an impossible goal.
Halina’s trademark grit and intellect all but guaranteed she’d become proficient in English, which of course she did. What is even more remarkable is she accomplished what few women at that time could even imagine. She founded her own company—a skincare salon specializing in scientifically informed skincare methods—something many U.S. women likely hadn’t even considered necessary or available before her arrival, considering at that time, skincare clinics only existed in New York and California.
And for Texas women who regularly went to beauty parlors only for their hair and nails, a salon specializing in holistic, science-based skincare would have seemed quite unique, peculiar even.
In what was then a small Texas town, Halina Pradzynski was truly a revolutionary and a pioneer. Today we revere her as a visionary and appreciate her as the founder of the world-class HALINA european day spa.
Halina passed on December 13, 2016.
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