The Wróbel Family

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A Crime in Nowy Bidaczów. The Story of the Wróbel Family

On 19th December 1942, Jan and Maria Wróbel, living in the village of Nowy Bidaczów near Biłgoraj (Lubelskie Province), were brutally murdered by the Germans, probably together with a three-person Jewish family hiding in their house, coming from nearby Biłgoraj. The execution was carried out as a result of an organized hunt on Jews hiding in the vicinity, conducted by the Germans, in which the local Polish population also participated. The Wróbel couple orphaned their ten-year-old son and six-year-old daughter. The name of the murdered Jews remains unknown to this day.


“[They were] shot by the police, or rather by the German miltary police, on their own farm. They killed the murdered couple’s livestock and burned down their house and other buildings. Before his death, Jan Wróbel was brutally beaten. His wife’s body was thrown into the fire and was completely burnt. […] Initially, Jan Wróbel’s body and Maria Wróbel’s remains were buried on the spot. After the War, they were exhumed and interred in the cemetary in Sól”, the course of the crime in Nowy Bidaczów was reported in the documents of the Main Commission for the Investigation of Nazi Crimes in Poland – the Institute of National Remembrance. 

Hunt and Death. Help of the Wróbels family for Jews

During World War II, Jan Wróbel and Maria née Tochman and their several-year-old children, Antonina and Eugeniusz, lived in the village of Nowy Bidaczów (also known as Bidaczów Nowy) near Biłgoraj (Lublin Province), where they ran a farm.

From autumn 1942, they helped a three-person Jewish family from Biłgoraj (parents with their son), sheltering them in the attic of their house (according to other sources, in a shelter built in a cowshed) and providing them with food and clothes.

On 19th December 1942, the Germans organized a hunt for hiding Jews in the village. At the order of the Wróbels, the people hiding in their house fled to the forest, but due to the low temperature, they decided to return to the village. Then they were arrested by Polish firefighters who participated in the hunt. The Jews who were led to the German military police station in Biłgoraj were most likely killed.

On the same day, the Germans searched the house of the Wróbels. The farm was plundered, then burned to the ground, and Jan and Maria were brutally murdered for helping Jews.

“[They were] shot by the police, or rather by the German miltary police, on their own farm. They killed the murdered couple’s livestock and burned down their house and other buildings. Before his death, Jan Wróbel was brutally beaten. His wife’s body was thrown into the fire and was completely burnt. The reason for the murder of the spouses of Wróbel was the disclosure of their earlier hiding of a Jewish family, which they provided with food and clothing”, the course of the crime in Nowy Bidaczów was reported in 1986 in the documents of the Main Commission for the Investigation of Nazi Crimes in Poland – the Institute of National Remembrance.

Initially, Jan Wróbel’s body and Maria Wróbel’s remains were buried on the spot. After the War, they “were exhumed and interred in the cemetary in Sól.” According to these documents, does not contain the names of those Jewish victims murdered in Nowy Bidaczów, “No further data”. 

Their Orphaned Children. The Fate of Antonina and Eugeniusz

 after their parents’ death

After the murder of Jan and Maria Wróbel, their children – six-year-old Antonina and ten-year-old Eugeniusz – were cared for by their neighbour Jan Baryła and then by the Wroński family, about whom Antonina Miklińska (née Wróbel) wrote in her 1987 account to the Jewish Historical Institute. She wrote: 

“I was cared for by Józef and Julia Wroński, the owners of the local water-mill in the village of Nowy  Bidaczów. As if the murder of my parents and the Jews was not enough, in 1943, together the Wroński couple, we were expelled from Nowy  Bidaczów and successively imprisoned in camps in Zwierzyniec,, Zamość and then in Majdanek in Lublin, from where we were transported to Germany for forced labour.” 

In her letter, Antonina Miklińska also wrote, referring to the accounts of her neighbors, that her parents had previously helped two Jewish women, 17-year-old Hela and 14-year-old Pola Tojman. From September 1942, the sisters hid on the Wróblów farm, and then:

“[Jan Wróbel] took two Jewish women [...] to the town of Rudnik, to the local Arbeitzamt [Ger. Arbeitsamt, tj. employment authority – ed.], introducing them as his own daughters, so that they could leave to work in Germany (of course, at their request and with their consent), in order to save them from extermination. The two Jewish girls were given prayer books to read to each other to emphasise that they were Roman Catholic.” 

Women survived the Holocaust. After the war, Pola (Urman at this time), emigrated to the United States. She corresponded with Antonina.

Efforts to Award the Title of Righteous Among the Nations for Jan and Maria Wróbel

One of the reasons why Antonina Miklińska addressed her letter to the Jewish Historical Institute was an attempt to obtain compensation for moral and material losses suffered by her and her brother as a result of the death of their parents:

“My ambition, as a Pole – moral satisfaction, with respect to the above bestialities, from the successors (the German Federal Republic) of the Nazi genocide perpetrators cannot happen. But I am asking for material compensation for my tragic, orphan life, from the ages of six to twenty, as well as material compensation for the burning of our home, barn, cowshed, storage cells, live and dead livestock. (Of course, half compensation for the burning of property and loss of livestock – because the other half is owed to my brother.) Also, material compensation for the fact that, if my parents were alive at the time I was getting married, I would have been given an appropriate start for a new life.” 

On the basis of Antonina Miklińska’s testimony, the Jewish Historical Institute asked the survivor, Pola Urman, to apply to the Yad Vashem Institute for Jan and Maria Wróbel to be honoured with the title of Righteous Among the Nations. However, the correspondence in 1988 was not followed up and the title was never awarded.