Victims of the Gestapo – 2017 Days of Remembrance

Mateusz Szczepaniak / English translation: Andrew Rajcher, 4th September 2017
The 11th "Victims of the Gestapo – Days of Remembrance" will take place in Kraków 8th-12th September, organised by the Historical Museum of Kraków. It is to remember the tragic story of Śląsk House at 2 Pomorska Street. It was here, during World War II, that the Police Command and Security Service had its headquarters for the Kraków district. It included, among others, the Secret Police (Geheime Staatspolizei) – the Gestapo. This year's event will be dedicated to Poles who saved Jews during the Holocaust. This was decided by a plebiscite conducted amongst Kraków residents.

Amongst those who will participate in the commemorations will be veterans, federal and local representatives, a company of soldiers representing the Polish Army, Kraków school teachers and Kraków resident. The planned programme includes a ceremony honouring victims of the Gestapo, the laying of flowers by the memorial plaque on Śląsk House at 2 Pomorska Street, as well as the screening of archival films. Talks will also be delivered by the staff of the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków – the Pomorska Street branch. Below are events, in this year's programme, which specifically relate to the issue of Poles saving Jews during the Holocaust:

8th September (Friday) 11:30am- 3:00pm – Conference 1 – entitled "Why is it Worthwhile Recalling Painful Memories?" (Lecture theatre LOK, 2 Pomorska Street). Some of the papers to be delivered include:

  • Dr Mateusz Szpytma (Deputy Chairman, Institute of National Remembrance), The Attitude of the Polish Community Towards the Extermination of the Jew
  • Dr Sister Teresa Antonietta Frącek (Archive Director of the Congregation of Franciscan Sisters Family of Mary), The Contribution of the Catholic Church, Especially Female Religious Congregation, in the Saving of Jews During the Period of German Occupation
  • Dr Grzegorz Berendt (Vice-Director, Museum of World War II in Gdańsk), The Attitude of the Polish Population to the Extermination of the Jews in Territory Occupied by the Wehrmacht After 1941
  • Dr Martyna Grądzka-Rejak (Historical Research Bureau, Institute of National Remembrance), The Holocaust of Kraków Jews in the Context of the Attitude of the Polish Population
  • Dr hab. Janusz Wróbel (Łódź branch of the Institute of National Remembrance), The Attitude of the Polish Population to the Extermination of the Jews in Kraj Warta
  • Dr Marcin Urynowicz (Historical Research Bureau, Institute of National Remembrance), The Extermination of Warsaw Jews in the Context of at the Attitude of the Polish Population.

On that day, at 5:00pm at Inwalidów Square, there will also be the opening of an outdoor exhibition "They perished and Suffered for Others", dedicated to Krakovians victimised by the Germans for helping Jews.

9th September (Saturday) 10:00am-1:00pm – Conference 1 – entitled "Why is it Worthwhile Recalling Painful Memories?" (Lecture theatre LOK, 2 Pomorska Street). Some of the papers to be delivered include:

  • Bartosz Heksel (Historical Museum of the City of Kraków), The Council to Aid Jews Exhibited in the MHK "Żegota – Hidden Help – Help Hidden",
  • Ewa Kołomańska (Kielce Villages Museum), Through the Prism of the Pogrom – Issues of Commemorating Poles Saving Jews in the Kielce Region During World War II
  • Ewa Koper (Museum – Place of Remembrance in Bełżec), Aid in the Shadow of the Extermination Camp – the Story of the Righteous of Bełżec.

12th September (Tuesday), 9:00am-5:00pm (2 Pomorska Street) an event entited "In the Service of Homeland and neighbours", telling of the underground activities of the "Grey Ranks" (Scouts) and help extended to the Jewish population.

The full program is available on the website of the Historical Museum of Kraków.

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Patrons:

Tadeusz Paziuk (1894-1944) for many years, served in the State Police. Later, in 1927-1931,h eworked in the Police diplomatic service in Rio de Janeiro and then, in 1933-1939, he was Bailiff of the Grodzka Court in Niemirów, Chodorów and Tarnopol. During World War II, he moved to Kraków and lived at 6 Siemiradzka Street. In 1943, he was arrested by the Gestapo for helping a Jewish woman, and placed in jail in Montelupich Street. As the result of a court verdict on 29th January 1944, he was murdered. His name figues on the deth notice: "Court Bailiff Tadeusz Paziuk of Kraków for providing shelter to a Jewish woman".

Zbigniew Kluska (1918-1944) was amedical student at the Jagielonian University in Kraków From December 1940, he served in the Związek Walki Zbrojnej (Armed Resistance Union). As a result of being denounced, he was arrested on 15th December 1943 by the Gestapo during a shift at the hospital on 17 Kopernika Street in Kraków. After being interrogated at 2 Pomorska Street, he was jailed at Montelupich Street and charged with "distributing subversive literature and knowledge regarding the unlawful possesion of arms and not reporting this to the authorities". As the result of a court verdict handed down on 29th January 1944, he was shot.