The Mikulski Family

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Danuta Mikulska-Renk’s account

Danuta Mikulska-Renk lived with her parents, Melania and Jan Mikulski, as well as with her two siblings in a forester’s lodge in Wola Duża, on the way from Biłgoraj to Zwierzyniec.

Jews who were hidden

In the Fall of 1942, the pogrom began that involved the Jews living in Biłgoraj. In the Summer of 1942, the Mikulskis started hiding a Jewish orphan, Lila Stern. In November 1942, a nine-year-old Jewish girl, Rywka Weinberg, came to their house. Since the Poles working in the forest saw her, Danuta’s father had to hide her, as he was afraid that she could be turned in to the Nazis.

Later, other adult Jews came: Bencjon Rosenbaum, his niece Perla Twerski and nephew Chaim Rosenbaum. They had known Danuta’s father before the war.

Hiding Jews

At first, they were hidden in the barn, later a shelter was dug for them.

In June 1943, the village was to be emptied in order to make room for the German settlers, and the inhabitants were given fifteen minutes to pack and leave their homes. Thanks to the presence of mind of Danuta’s father and the help of soldiers who were billeted in their house, they were not displaced. This was also due to the father’s fluent German – he had studied in Vienna. Moreover, two young Polish girls who broke away and fled to the lodge, were saved.

After the war

When Biłgoraj was liberated by the Red Army, Chaim enlisted in the Kościuszko Division, that consisted of Polsih soldiers, despite the fact that the military service was not compulsory for him. Chaim died near Kołobrzeg at the age of 19.

The rest survived. The adults went to Wrocław and later to Israel. The girls ended up in an orphanage in Lublin, and later in the USA. Danuta also talks about two other Jews, father and son, who hid in the forest and who came to the Mikulskis’ house for food. They survived the war, but the older one was murdered just after the war, while the younger emigrated to New York. Danuta has stayed in touch with Rywka to this day. She visited her for the first time in 1971, in the USA.

Danuta’s parents, Melania and Jan, received the medal “The Righteous Among the Nations” in 1966 and Danuta received her medal in 1990 in Israel.

The relation was recorded in the framework of the project "Lights In The Darkness - The Righteous Among The Nations", courtesy of the "Ośrodek Brama Grodzka - Teatr NN" in Lublin

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Bibliography

  • Dąbrowska Anna red., Światła w ciemności. Sprawiedliwi wśród Narodów Świata. Relacje, Lublin 2008
  • Kawa Magdalena, Interview with Danuta Mikulska-Renk, 3.09.2007