Righteous Ceremonies Held in Szczecin and Wrocław

Mateusz Szczepaniak / English translation: Andrew Rajcher, 12 August 2017
On 8th August in Szczecinie and on 10th August in Wrocław ceremonies took place in which new Righteous Among the Nations were honoured posthumously. Those honoured were Aleksander Czarny, Kazimierz and Weronika Koczan, Aniela Kołaczkowska, Emilia Korobiec, Tekla and Karol Krzynowy, as well as Stanisław and Anna Tomczak. In addition, Franciszka Abramowicz, already honoured with the title of Righteous in 1987, was also granted honorary citizenship of the State of Israel.

The ceremony in Szczecin took place in the Opera House of the Pomorskie Duke's Castle with the participation of the Israeli Ambassador to Poland, Anna Azari, the Speaker of the Zachodniopomorskie Province, Olgierd Geblewicz and the families of those honoured – Kazimierz and Weronika Koczan, and Stanisław and Annay Tomczak – who accepted the medals and certificates on behalf of these newly honoured Righteous Among the Nations.

During World War II, Kazimierz Koczan (1902-1970) and his wife Weronika (1903-1994) lived in the village of Wędziagoła, near Kowno, where they ran a farm and operated a mill. From 1942, they sheltered their Jewish friends, the Łabanowski family from Kowno. Meir and Estera, together with their daughters Hana, Sara, Asna, Pesia and Henia, escaped from the Kowno ghetto, into which they had been placed when Lithuania was occupied by the Germans in 1941. They hid there until liberation in 1944. After the War, the Koczan family was deported to Siberia where they stayed until 1956, while the Łabanowski family emigrated to Israel. The families remained in contact until 1968. They resumed contact almost forty four years later.   

Stanisław Tomczak (1898-1985) and his wife Anna (dec'd. 1945) lived in Grodno. In 1941, they took into their home two-year-old Edward (1939-1996), the only son of their Jewish friends, Borys and Anna Frumin. He had become lost during the family's escape to the east following the Third Reich's attack upon the Soviet Union. Edward found himself under the care of the Tomczak family until liberation in 1944, despite the fact that the couple already had six children of their own. When, a year later, Anna died, her husband Stanisław decided to move to Poland with his children. At that time, he placed Edward into a local orphanage, writing the surname "Frumin" on the registration card, in the hope that he would be found by his relatives. The boy was adopted, short thereafter, by the Friedman family and went with them to Lwów. For many years, he tried to locate his biological mother and finally succeeded in 1978.

During the Righteous ceremony in Szczecin, the Righteous Franciszka Abramowicz (the title granted in 1987) was posthumously awarded Honorary Citizenship of the State of Israel. The certificate of citizenship was accepted by her grandson, Andrzej Abramowicz.

Read more about the story of Franciszka Abramowicz

Two days later, a ceremony took place in the Pod Białym Bocianem Synagogue in Wrocław, during which Aniela Kołaczkowska and Aleksander Czarny, Emilia Korobiec, as well as Karol and Tekla Krzynowy were honoured.

Aniela Kołaczkowska, nee Czarny (born 1912), and her brother Aleksander Czarny (born 1928), lived in the village of Eleonorówka (Tarnopolskie Province). From September 1943, they helped Simon Turkel, Aniela's high school friend, who had escaped from a work camp for Jews. Around two kilometres away from the village, they dug a hiding place for him in a field. He remained there until March 1944, when the Red Army entered. Throughout that time, Aniela and her brother Aleksander catered to all Simon's needs, bringing him food and even newspapers. After the War, the Czarny family moved to the so-called "Regained Territories", while, in 1948, Simon Turkel emigrated to Canada where he established a family. Initially, they remained in contact, but that contact ceased in the 1970's.     

Emilia Korobiec lived in Porzecze (Pomorskie Province) where, with her husband and niece, she rented one of the houses belonging to a Jewish couple, Borys and Gitel Smolnik. They Korobiec lived in poverty, working on the railway . But they could always count on help from the Smolnik family. When the Smolnik fanik family ended up in the ghetto, they decided to escape and shelter in a hiding-place they had created at the beginning of the War. This hiding-place was located directly next to the Korobiec family's home. From 1941 to 1943, Emilia Korobiec looked after all the needs of her friends in hiding. Shortly before the end of the War, fearing for their own safety and the safety of their carers, the Smolnik family changed hiding-places. All survived until liberation. After the War, they discovered that neighbours knew about their hiding place. No one betrayed their secret.

Karol Krzynowy (born 1911) and his wife Tekla lived in the village of Czabarówka (Tarnopolskie Province). From the autumn of 1943, they provided shelter for the brothers Emil and Muniek Gotlibom, and Emil's son, Zygmunt. They had escaped from Kopyczyńce. their hometown. Until liberation, in March 1944, they hid in a hiding place, created by Karol Krzynowy, located under the stable. Despite all the anxiety, Tekla also helped by bringing them food. After the War, Emil and his son emigrated to the USA, while the Krzynowy family settled in the Śląsk Province. They remained in correspondence contact over many years.

During the ceremony, Zuzanna Czarny said, "I'm proud of their courage. My husband would certainly be pleased with this honour. Thank you for remembering him and his sister Aniela".

Israeli Ambasador Anna Azari added, "With each passing year,we continue to recognise more with the title of Righteous. This work will not stop". 

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Information about the Yad Vashem Institute's procedures in granting the title of RIghteous Among the Nations, and the granting of Honorary Citizenship of the State of Israel can be found here on our website: Yad Vashem Criteria.