«Wartime Rescue of Jews by the Polish Catholic Clergy The Testimony of Survivors Edited and compiled by Mark Paul Polish Educational Foundation in ...»
228. More than a dozen villagers in Mętów near Głusk, outside of Lublin, sheltered Jews. See Dariusz Libionka, “Polska ludność chrześcijańska wobec eksterminacji Żydów—dystrykt lubelski,” in Dariusz Libionka, ed., Akcja Reinhardt: Zagłada Żydów w Generalnym Gubernatorstwie (Warsaw: Instytut Pamięci Narodowej–Komisja Ścigania Zbrodni przeciwko Narodowi Polskiemu, 2004), p.325. Survivors from Sokoły recall: “The village Landowa [Lendowo near Brańsk] had a good name among the Jews who were hiding in the area around Sokoly, 292 and they regarded it as a paradise. Many Jews began to stream there. … there wasn’t a house in Landowa where there weren’t three or four Jews.” (Liba Goldberg-Warobel) “Finally, we came to the village of Landowa [Lendowo]. … we knocked on the door of a house, not far from the forest. An old farmwoman brought us into the house. … I remained alone with the old farmwoman. … Over time, it became known to all of them that I was not related to her family and that I didn’t even know Polish. The farmwoman did not hesitate to admit that she had adopted me, a Jewish girl, as her daughter. … The farmwoman began to teach me Christian prayers, and on Sundays I went with her to church.
existence. It seemed that there were no informants in this village …” See Marian Finkielman, Out of the Ghetto:
A Young Jewish Orphan Boy’s Struggle for Survival (Montreal: The Concordia University Chair in Canadian Jewish Studies and The Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies, 2000), pp.34–36. The villagers of Kubra near Radziłów (in the Białystok District) did not betray the family of Helena Chilewicz when the Gestapo came looking for them in July 1942, and she and her mother survived the war penniless moving from village to village. See Danuta and Aleksander Wroniszewski, “…aby żyć,” Kontakty–Łomżyński Tygodnik Społeczny, July 10, 1988. Mirla Frydrich (Szternzys), from Żółkiewka, was shot in the thigh when she jumped from a train headed for the Bełżec death camp. A Pole who happened to be driving by took her in his carriage and nursed her back to health with the help of another Pole. When Mirla returned to Żółkiewka she received assistance from a number of Poles in several nearby villages. See Zylberklang, Z Żółkiewki do Erec Israel, pp.181–84.
About 12 miles outside Lwów, Abraham Trasawucki, dressed only in rags, jumped from a death train headed for Bełżec in the middle of winter. Although he was easily identifiable as a Jew on the run, the villagers did not betray him, rather he was offered temporary shelter, food, clothing and money at two random Polish farmsteads, and given rides in the wagons of other Poles. He was sold a train ticket by an official, allowed on the train by a guard who checked his ticket, and not denounced by the passengers, even though everyone recognized him as a Jew. See Abraham Tracy, To Speak For the Silenced (Jerusalem and New York: Devora, 2007), pp.165–72. Ryfka Goldiner, a young Jewish child, was rescued by Stanisław and Helena Wiśliński in Bełżyce near Lublin. Although the villagers were aware of her origin no one betrayed them. The local priest did not agree to formally baptize the child in the event her parents survived the war and returned for her, which they did. See Anna Dąbrowska, ed., Światła w ciemności: Sprawiedliwi Wśród Narodów Świata. Relacje (Lublin: Ośrodek “Brama Grodzka–Teatr NN,” 2008), pp.56–61. Luba Hochlerer, ten years of age, lived openly with Józef and Bronisława Zając in the hamlet of Witoldów near Wojsławice, where she attended village school, yet no one betrayed her. Ibid., pp.106–7.
Irena Sznycer, a Jewish girl with strikingly Semitic features, who was sheltered by a Polish woman in the village 293 of Bełżec, recalled shortly after the war: “I was well cared for by that lady and was not afraid of anything.
Although the neighbours knew I was Jewish, this lady had no enemies so nothing [bad] could happen.” See Teresa Prekerowa, “Stosunek ludności polskiej do żydowskich uciekinierów z obozów zagłady w Treblince, Sobiborze i Bełżcu w świetle relacji żydowskich i polskich,” Biuletyn Głównej Komisji Badania Zbrodni przeciwko Narodowi Polskiemu—Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej, vol. 35 (1993): p.104. According to three separate testimonies of Jewish escapees from the death camps of Treblinka and Sobibór, they “walked about the villages” and were “known to everybody,” including the farm-hands and school children, without being betrayed. Ibid., p.108. A Jew who escaped from the Treblinka death camp recalled the help he received from peasants: “I was free. I walked to a village. … I knocked to ask for bread. The peasants looked at me in silence. ‘Bread, bread.’ They saw my red hands, torn jacket, worn-out slippers, and handed me some hard, gray crusts. A peasant woman, huddled in shawls, gave me a bowl of hot milk and a bag. We didn’t talk: my body had turned red and blue from the blows and the cold, and my clothes, everything proclaimed Jew! But they gave me bread. Thank you Polish peasants. I slept in a stable near the animals, taking a little warm milk from the cow in the morning. My bag filled with bread.” See Martin Gray, with Max Gallo, For Those I Loved (Boston and Toronto: Little, Brown, 1972), p.178. A Jew from Serock (north of Warsaw) who escaped from a German execution site badly wounded was cared for by many many villagers where he sought refuge. See Michał Grynberg, Żydzi w rejencji ciechanowskiej 1939–1942 (Warsaw: Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1984), p.134. Izaak Zemelman of Płock recalled the assistance provided by a large number of Polish families in the nearby village of Sikórz where he and his family took shelter: Stawiski, Romanowski, Górski, Danielak, Adamski, Kłosiński, and others. See Janusz Szczepański, Społeczność żydowska Mazowsza w XIX–XX wieku (Pułtusk: Wyższa Szkoła Humanistyczna imienia Aleksandra Gieysztora w Pułtusku, 2005), p.492. Some Jews came to realize that their guise as Christian Poles was not as foolproof as they had believed, but this had not caused them to be betrayed. One Jew who called on farmhouses in the Urzędów area, pretending to be a Christian, recalled: “I would cross myself, bless Jesus Christ, and ask for something to eat. I had made up a story in case questions were asked. Most farmers were not talkative. Viewed suspiciously, sometimes I would be given soup or bread and asked to leave quickly: sometimes I was just told to go. Later it dawned on me that I was crossing myself incorrectly, touching my chin rather than the chest.” See David Makow, Dangerous Luck: Memories of a Hunted Life (New York: Shengold Publishers, 2000), p.28. In 1942, Jerzy Mirewicz, a Jesuit priest, escorted a Jewish fugitive by train from Biłgoraj to Milanówek near Warsaw, so that he could join members of his family who were being hidden by a Christian family. Even though the priest had permission to travel, officials were constantly checking the papers of passengers. When the train reached Dęblin, a policeman came into the car and demanded to know if his companion was a Jew. Fortunately for the priest and the fugitive, the whole compartment came to their rescue by insisting that priest was escorting a “lunatic” to a hospital asylum. See Vincent A. Lapomarda, The Jesuits and the Third Reich (Lewiston/Queenston and Lampeter: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1989), p.130. A Jewish lawyer was able to continue his practice in Mielec, in defiance of a Nazi ban, with the collusion of the town’s entire legal profession, until he was denounced by a fellow Jew, first to the Gestapo and then to the Justice Department. See Mark Verstandig, I Rest My Case (Melbourne: Saga Press, 1995), pp.viii, 109–13, 130–32. In the village of Goszcza near Miechów, everyone was aware that Jews, some of them with a marked Semitic appearance, were being sheltered yet no one betrayed them.
See Bartoszewski and Lewinówna, Ten jest z ojczyzny mojej, 2nd ed., pp.643–44. Similar reports come from the villages of Gałuszowice and Chrząstów near Mielec. See Bartoszewski and Lewinówna, Ten jest z ojczyzny mojej, 2nd ed., pp.721–22. In Majdan Niepryski, several families sheltered a young Jewish girl thrown from a train headed for Bełżec. See Bartoszewski and Lewinówna, Ten jest z ojczyzny mojej, 2nd ed., pp.709–710. A teenage boy with a Semitic appearance, the son of a Jewish beggar woman, lived openly in the village of Głowaczowa near Dębica, with the Polish farmer who had taken him in, without being betrayed. See Bartoszewski and Lewinówna, Ten jest z ojczyzny mojej, 2nd ed., p.640. In Grodzisk, a small community just outside Warsaw, an elderly Jewish teacher married to a Polish Catholic woman was able to live openly with his wife throughout the war: “Everybody knew my uncle was Jewish but no one reported him to the Gestapo.” This family took in other Jews, also without incident. See Sylvia Rothchild, ed., Voices from the Holocaust (New York: Nal Books/New American Library, 1981), p.225. A foundry in Wołomin, outside of Warsaw, engaged a Jew whose appearance and manner of speaking readily gave him away, yet no one betrayed him. See Antoni Marianowicz, Życie surowo
wzbronione (Warsaw: Czytelnik, 1995), pp.159–60; Antoni Marianowicz, Life Strictly Forbidden (London: