The Dobkowski Family

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Story of Rescue - the Dobkowski Family

The Dobkowski family lived in Zanklew, located six kilometres from Wizna and seven kilometres from Jedwabne. The Lewin family also lived in Wizna.

Bolesław Dobkowski had a farm, which he was able to acquire having worked in America. Izrael Lewin was a highly regarded tailor. For among others, he made, cassocks for priests and uniforms for soldiers. The two men knew each other very well, having both been veterans of the Polish-Soviet War.

In September 1942, the Lewin family urgently sought shelter. Izrael’s two older sons were killed by the Germans in the Giełczyn forest. It is possible, that his youngest daughter had been perished in the barn fire in Jedwabne.

One day, Home Army [AK] soldiers (with whom Bolesław was collaborating) brought the Lewin family to the Dobkowski house. The Jews had been hiding there for three years - initially, in a hiding place built under a wardrobe in a living room and, later, in a shelter dug in the fields.

The move from the house into the fields was dramatic as, unexpectedly, a German officer was to move into the room where the Lewin family was hiding.

Tadeusz Dobkowski recalled, "My parents were just preparing bread for baked in the morning. They were putting it into the stove and saying, 'What are we going to do now? What are we supposed to do? Hand them over to the Germans?'.

"And I’m standing there and listening - a sixteen-year-old boy. So I say, 'Dad, mom, we can’t do that. They’ll kill us together with them. We've somehow managed to hide them for three years […], so we have to do something now.' […]”.

After the Second World War, the Lewin family moved to Łódź. In the early 1950s, they emigrated to Israel. They would send letters and packages to the Dobkowski family. After 1968, the families lost contact, but it was renewed in the late 1980s.

In a newspaper, the Dobkowski read that it was possible to receive the Yad Vashem medal for rescuing Jews. The father, Bolesław - although, in 1945, having been beaten for helping Jews and having his homestead robbed - did not consider the medal important. As he told his son Wincenty, “What is important is that we fortunately managed to save the lives of four people”.


  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, 349, 1266
  • Grzybek Marcin, Interview with Mieczysław Dobkowski, 10.04.2009
  • Grzybek Marcin, Interview with Tadeusz Dobkowski, 10.04.2009
  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu