The Sikora Family

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Interview with Edwarda Boś

On Life Before the War

“It was good. They chatted, they came to us or to others when they needed to buy something and that’s how we lived. (...) There was quite a lot of them. They worked in Kraśnik, dealing with other people. (...) Whatever was needed, they would go to the village, buy things and trade amongst themselves”.

“Yes, there was a synagogue, and it’s still there. (...) I remember a little because, when they were with us, they were praying. They had their own various bibles. They prayed. No one there disallowed it”.

“I was in Kraśnik. The ghetto was already there. They took people – they took this one, that one and the other one. They bashed the richer ones. Whomever the Germans wanted, they chose and took away somewhere”.

“They knew that they were headed for damnation [Ed: At that time, they could not have known. This is a post factum interpretation which often appears in villagers’ stories], that they needed to find a hiding place, that they needed to hide. Those, who were with us, were on good terms with my parents and these Jews discussed about where they should hide. Straight away, my mother decided to hide them, to put them somewhere. So it was agreed that they would come to us and mum would find them somewhere to hide”.

The Hiding Place

“It was agreed that they would come at night. They brought some clothes with them, only a little. The Jewish lady brought a load of food. So they came at night, but where were they to hide? They had agreed to dig out a hiding place, but where? It was a cell under the floor”.

“They dug out bucketfuls of soil. They took this soil to the barn, under which was once a basement. That basement was no longer being used for anything. And so they took the soil in the buckets down there. (...) They lined the hiding place with straw so that they’d have somewhere dry to sit. They made sort of pallets, because all of them couldn’t fit. So they made pallets on which to sometimes sit or to sometimes sleep.

Fear

 “If they were discovered, they were have been wiped out. They needed a hiding place, but no one should know about it. Maybe God would help no one to find out that they were hidden with us”.

“We thought that it would be for a week or two. For two years we fed and cared for them. They were hidden in that dug-out hiding place. For two years, we struggled and fed them. What else could we do?”.

Daily Life

“And so, month after month, day after day, we fed them for two years. They cooked their own food. They came out of the hiding place in which they were sitting and came into our kitchen. The Jewish lady did the cooking. She cooked (...) for seven of them”.

“Szlama, Srul, Mania, Mosio or Moszek. They were pleased that we had hidden them. They were pleased”.

“Mosio’s wife had been killed in Sułowo. (...) He hid there for a while with that Kowalik. He was hidden there under sheafs of straw. He later found out that he would be able to hide with us. So he came and asked us to hide him. My parents agreed to take him”.

“They could only sit in that hiding place. They sat during the day and, at night, they sat or slept. Days turned into weeks. Two years went by. (...) They sat and slept and that was all. What else could they have done in that hiding place? The dug out was a square in shape. They could sit, sleep and and doze – and that’s it”.

“I bought them newspapers. They read the newspapers from cover to cover. They were happy when they read that the war was drawing to a close. They were so pleased by what they read in those newspapers”.

“They walked every day. When the Jewish lady who cooked their food came into our home, we would cover the windows. We hung a scarf here, a blanket there – so that nothing could be seen”.

“They would come out into the entrance hall from where you could enter the kitchen where the food was cooked. (...) Later, they had to go back into the hidingplace”.

“There were already seven of  them, so there may as well be more. That little Jewish girl was maybe seven or nine years old, I don’t know. Let her and her father hide with us. And they were with us until the end”.

“I had contact with this Jew. His name was Zelig. He was a tanner. (...) Once, he gave be a basket of sugar cubes. He said, ‘That it with you and share it with them. This sugar is for them”.

“Jankel was a Jew who belonged to the Jewish police. Because he was a Jewish policeman, he carried a rifle. He discovered later that things were going to get bad. He told the other that ‘we have to run away’”.

“He fled to a family called Młynarczykowski. He fled to Kraśnik. He said to the lady, ‘Hide me!’. ‘Run away, Jankiel. I don’t want you to be here for too long. Run away! Run away!’. That’s what she advised him to do – run away”.

The Neighbours

“He knew that there were Jews with us (...). It was known that someone was with us. And they talked about wanting to go where the Joski were. Those Jews were called Joski. (...) They didn’t use the name Edelsztajn, only Josek”.

“Kowalik knew that we had Jews. He once brought them a pitcher of milk. Once he brought them green peas and he also helped them a little. When he brought the peas, there was talk about making pea soup. Supposedly, Kowalik knew about the Jews, but never uttered a word”.

“They paid thet Skrzypek with money. It was winter. They sat on the straw and he drove them (...). And they went to Kowalik. They told Kowalik that they wanted to go to Joski. And Kowalik told his son, ‘Take Józek, and lead them there’ – meaning to bring them to us”.

“Our dog started barking. We went out to see what the dog was barking at. We see two Jews approaching - Jankiel and Rolnik. They came, wanting to hide with us. We thought, well, we already have several – seven, eight, nine – what difference will another two make? We can squeeze in another two. And so we took them. We had to enlarge the hiding place a little, so that they could all fit in”.

“We always covered the entrance. If a neighbour came he would ask why we had done that. We would say so that no one could come in. We covered it over like that. When someone came, no one ever suspected anything. We were grateful to God”.

Thugs

“Thugs finally appeared at our home, but those thugs had no idea that Jews were hiding below. They had no idea. They only found a barrel in which their things were hidden – shirts or underwear”.

 

“This was only thanks to God. Because if they’d moved the planks, they would have been seen – all of them. This was only thanks to God that none of them under the planks were caught”.

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Bibliography

  • Krzysztof Banach, Interview with Edwarda Boś, 26.09.2010