Story of rescue

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"I came across extraordinary people". The Story of Stanisław and Anastazja Zamorski

During the years of German occupation, Stanisław and Anaztazja Zamorski helped Irena Kreinik, a Jew who, during the Holocaust, escaped from the ghetto in Sanisławów (today, in Ukraine). The woman had crossed the Carpathians Mountains in the Podkarpackie Province and, alone, had hidden in a forest. In 1944, the Zamorski family took her into their home in the village of Kopaniny near Jasła (today in the Podkarpackie Province).


From the beginning of World War II, Stanisław Zamorski lived with his family in a small hut on the edge of the forest in the village of Kopaniny, where he hid from the Gestapo. As he said in a statement in 1961, the Germans were looking for him "because he had secrety hidden pre-War maps of the land classification”.

To earn a living, Stanisław traded and was a farm worker. At the same time, he performed the duties of quartermaster for the Home Army in that area.

A Hiding-Place in the Forest in the Podkarpackie Province

One day, in the late summer of 1944, he went into the forest to collect mushrooms. He noticed a burrow covered with fir tree branches: 

"Out of curiosity, I moved the branches and looked inside the burrow, calling out to anyone who might be there. As no one responded, I lit a match and noticed that someone was lying there - quite unconscious. When I moved inside, I discovered that it was a woman”. 

Waking up, she said, "You can kill me. I don't want to live anymore”. Zamorski guessed that the woman was Jewish and promised to help her. He first brought her food prepared by his wife and, in the evening, he brought her to his home:

"I couldn't bring her during the day as, in my neighbourhood, there was the devil of a woman who would have betrayed everything, maybe not out of malice, but out of stupidity.”

Hiding with the Zamorski Family

After the War, Irena Kreinik [Krainik, Krajnik; there are various spellings - ed.] wrote:

"I was taken into the Zamorski home, fed, clothed, my sore feet were cared for and I wasn't allowed to leave. They asked me for nothing, not even to see any documents. They didn't examine me for any Aryan features."

Initially, the Zamorski family did not intend to hide her. The woman had a "bad appearance", which could have placed their home in danger. The next day, however, they changed their minds:

"When it came time for her to leave in the evening, our hearts were all so touched that we decided to keep her with us no matter what may happen.”

Irena Kreinik's Hiding-Place on the "Aryan Side"

While hiding, she went about the village as a cousin of Zamorski's wife. He bought her a kenkarte in the in the name of "Irena Ostrowska”. She had been the wife of a doctor in Stanisławów, who had been murdered by the Germans. She had managed to escape from the the local ghetto. During the nightly floor cleaning, she would go to the well for water and, taking advantage of the darkness, she left the ghetto unnoticed. She then hid in various places on the "Aryan side'.

After a two-month journey through the Carpathian Mountains, she reached the forest next to the village of Kopaniny. There, she his with a group of other Jews, whom she had met while escaping. Her companions decided to go onto the village of Osobnica, but they were caught by the Germans and shot. She remained in th ehiding-place, where Stanisław Zamorski had found her.

Irena hid in the Zamorski home for more almost half a year - from August 1944 until the entry of the Red Army in January 1945. Then, Zamorski drove her to Rzeszów, from where she left for Katowice. She lived there for several months. In Katowice, she met her future husband and, after the War, together the went to Stuttgart.

Letters Written After the War

In 1945, Irena Kreinik re-established contact with Stanisław Zamorski with the help of Henryk Birencwajg - a department director of the Ministry of Finance in which, after the War, Zamorski worked as an inspectorr. She had written a letter to Birencwajg:

"To me, getting Stanisław Zamorski's address and making contact with him was of the utmost importance. I owe him and his family a huge debt of gratitude - I owe them my life”.

Irena and Stanisław began to correspond. In one of her letters, Irena wrote:

"I think you know what you mean to me and what you did for me. This can never be allowed to be forgotten. I show my friends your letter and I tell them of our experiences together. Everyoine admires your attitude towards me and your character and think that I was lucky to have come across such extraordinary people - supermen! My only wish is to, somehow, repay my debt of  gratitude to you.”

Contact was severed in 1948 and Irena's further fate is unknown. She probably emigrated to Canada.

On 11st November 2019, the Yad Vashem Institute in Jerusalem honoured Stanisław and Anastazja Zamorski with the title of Righteous Among the Nations.

Bibliography

  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego w Warszawie, Zbiór relacji Żydów ocalałych z Zagłady, 301/5786
  • Archiwum Barbary Zamorskiej-Wieliczko, Listy Ireny Kreinik do Stanisława Zamorskiego