Falkowski Stanislaw

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Story of Rescue - Falkowski Stanislaw

Józef Fajwiszys was twelve-years-old when, along with his family (his parents and older sister Perela), he was resettled into the Warsaw ghetto.

His father, Izrael, was a musician and conductor, directing choirs in various Polish cities. He also established a choir in the ghetto. In July 1942, during the ghetto liquidation, Izrael and Perela were transported to Poniatowa, near Lublin and, there, were shot by the Nazis.

In September 1942, fourteen-years-old Józef, separated from his mother, found himself on a transport heading to Treblinka. Realising its destination, he took a risk and jumped from the moving train. For two months, he wandered around villages in the Lublin district, receiving short-term help from the local peasants and partisans. Thanks to his “good appearance”, he did not arouse any suspicions.

When, in Hodyszewa, winter frosts set in against which he needed to find shelter. A local peasant directed him to the home of Father Józef Perkowski. However, the priest could not take him in and so directed him to a curate whom he knew, Father Stanisław Falkowski, in Piekuta Nowa, near Szepietowo.

“Father Falkowski took me in, gave me a warm, winter jacket, gave me a bath and got rid of the fleas and let me sleep on a sofa in his room”, recalled Józef.

The priest did not have the circumstances which would have allowed him to let the boy stay for a longer time. However, he would not leave him without shelter. Introducing him as his cousin, he found him shelter elsewhere.

In the beginning, Józef worked as a farmhand on the property of a peasant, who was a friend of the priest. Later, he worked for the local mayor as a Polish language tutor. When the other workers began to be suspicious of the boy, the priest helped him to obtain identity papers under the surname "Kutrzeba" (the surname Józef used for the rest of his life).

He then left for Germany as a worker. Józef obtained a job in a car plant in Insterburg and remained there until the end of the War.

After the War, Kutrzeba and Father Falkowski remained in contact via letters. At the end of the 1940’s, Józef immigrated to the United States. It was then that the roles were reversed. He began helping his benefactor, regularly sending him parcels with food and medicines, most of which the priest distributed to his parishioners. Józef’s help with food became especially important when Father Falkowski, victimised by the communist authorities, found himself in prison.

In 1967, through Józef’s intercession, the priest was able to visit the United States. Two years later, Józef intervened when Father Falkowski lost his right to serve as a priest. He turned directly to Cardinal Wyszyński on this matter, who restored Father Falkowski to the favour of the church.

On the recommendation of Józef Kutrzeba, in 1977, Father Falkowski was honoured with the title of Righteous Among the Nations.

Józef Kutrzeba is the author of the book Kontrakt. Życie za życie (Contract – a Life for a Life), in which he writes about his wartime and post-War experiences.