Story of rescue

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"Gołąbki was like an oasis” - the Story of the Krępeć Family

During the German occupation, Jerzy and Irena Krępeć, their sonTadeusz and Jerzy's sisters Eugenia Muszyńska and Alina Tyszka, extended help to Jews in the village of Gołąbki (today, Ursus, a suburb of the capital, Warsaw). Initially, refugees from Warsaw found shelter on the farms.


When World War II broke out, Jerzy and Irena Krępeć, together with their children Tadeusz, Krystyn and Maria, lived on their family estate near Płock. In 1941, they were evicted from there. They left for Gołąbki, at the time in the municipality of Blizne near Warsaw, where Irena's parents - Henryk and Zofia Adamus - lived. The lived in a house at ul. Batorego 4 (today, ul. Koronacyjna).

Soon after, they were joined by Jerzy's sisters - Alina Tyszka, whom the Germans expelled from her estate in Wildno near Kujawy, and Eugenia Muszyńska and her children. Both had lost their husbands in the first weeks of the War. A boy, whom Jerzy had once met in the countryside and had brought home, also lived with the Krępeć family.

"Osada" - the Krępeć Family in Gołąbki Near Warsaw

The Adamus house was not so small, which is why Jerzy Krępeć rented a small farm which was located on the edge of Gołąbki, at ul. Graniczna 17, next to the railway tracks. It was around one kilometre from the family home. Jerzy's sisters and their children lived on "Osada” ("Settlement"), as the property was called.. 

The Adamus house was small, which is why Jerzy Krępeć rented a small farm, which was located on the edge of Gołąbki, at ul. Graniczna 17, next to the railway tracks. It was about a kilometer from the family home. In "Osada" - as the area was called - Jerzy's sisters and their children lived.

At that time, Jerzy contacted underground organisations. Those, who were forced to hide from the Germans found shelter in his home. The majority of those were Jews, escapees from the Warsaw ghetto:

Afer the War, the Krępeć couple's daughter recalled:

"There people had to be clothed, fed and, often, treated medically. I remember how much heart my mother devoted to them and also my aunts in 'Osada'. My father gave the Jewish children into the care of mu aunts.”

People were hidden in various places - in the attic, in the basement behind shelves with food products, in the water-tank or amongst the hay. The Krępeć couple's children also took part in the acts of help - "standing watch" to warn those in hiding about any impending danger.

Jews Hiding With the Krępeć Family

Anna Zofia Ettinger (nee Moszkowska), called "Hanka", was in hiding with the Krępeć family. In the summer of 1942, together with her four-year-old son Józef, she had escaped fromo the Warsaw ghetto. Initially, Józef, called "Jureczek", was placed with a university friend of his mother, Jadwiga Uklańska. Following her arrest in 1944, Jerzy Krępeć took in the boy in Gołąbki - despite that fact that, as Józef Ettinger recalled years later, "the house was overcrowded because, apart from him [Krępeć  ed.] and his own family, there were so many others - mainly Jews”. To ensure his safety, Józef was plalced with his aunts and did not know that his mother was in hiding, so close, with Jerzy's family.

Krępeć provided shelter selflessly, not accepting any money, even for their upkeep. Amongst those in hiding was Zofia Sidorowa, aka Krystyna Radziejowska (Izdebska), who ended up there following her release from Pawiak prison, together with her teenage daughter named Marylka.

Life in Hiding - Interaction With Neighbours

Maria Pawluk (nee Krępeć) recalled:

"All  those hiding with us were like one big family. My father was against them just sitting idly in their hiding-places. Most of them lived a normal life. They helped us with everything. Working helped them to mentally survive that terrible time […]”. 

The Krępeć family organised secret classes for local youth, which were also attended by the Jewish children. The humanities teacher as a Jewish woman, Czesława Końko, who also lived in "Osada”. The children played together with the other children in the yard. The residents of Gołąbki were friendly towards them. Many of them knew what was happening at the Krępeć farm. They maintained solidarity, some even also hiding Jews. As Maria states:

"Gołąbki was like an 'Oasis'”.

All the Jews, hidden by the Krępeć family, survived the War. In addition, 20-30 people, who were forced out of Warsaw after the defeat of the Uprising in 1944, also found refuge in the Krępeć farm.

"My father only did what a person should have done”

Years later, Maria wrote:

"My father was a great man. He had a big heart, sensitive to human suffering. When I asked him, many years after the War, why there was no Righteous Medal, he replied that it didn't matter to him. He only did what a person should  have done. he rescued unhappy, persecuted, innocent people. He did this completely selflessly, at the expense of enormous work and the safety of himself and his family. I'm proud that we, the whole family, consciously helped him.”

On 20th March 1994, the Yad Vashem Institute in Jerusalem honoured Jerzy and Irena Krępeć with the title of Righteous Among the Nations. On 15th November 2001, the title was also bestowed upon Eugenia Muszyńska and Alina Tyszka and, on 27th November 2002, upon Tadeusz Krępeć also.

Other Stories of Rescue in the Area

Bibliography

  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego w Warszawie, Dział Dokumentacji Odznaczeń Yad Vashem, 349/24/2110
  • Archiwum Andrzeja Krępecia, Dokumenty ws. uhonorowania rodziny Krępeciów tytułem Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata