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"Ordinary, human solidarity" - the Story of the Fedorów and Mosingiewicz Families

Before the War, the Jewish Korec family lived in Borysław, near Drohobycz. In 1928, they left their home town and moved to Warsaw, where they remained until the outbreak of World War II. Afraid of the Germans, they decided to leave the capital city and return to Borysław which, at that time, was under the control of the Soviet army. Olga Korec, a high school graduate, worked in the local hospital. She became friendly with Joanna Fedorów-Mosingiewicz and her sister Ewa who was a member of the underground. The family led a relatively quiet life until the outbreak of the German-Soviet war and the resultant German occupation of their area.

The Jews were then forced to live in a ghetto. Olga and her father, Józef, became forced labourers in a company engaged in oil extraction. Rozalia, Olga's mother,and her younger sister Irena, were not allocated work, which gave them no protection against deportation from the ghetto.

In January 1942, when the Germans began deporting Jews from the Borysław ghetto to the Bełżec death camp, Olga led her mother and sister out of the ghetto. Together, they managed to reach the Fedorów family's farm. At that time, that family comprised Aniela, the head of the family, and her three daughters - Ewa, Maria and Joanna, Joanna's husband Edward Mosingiewicz and their one year old son Antoni.

Without asking unnecessary questions, the Fedorów family took in Rozalia and Irena, and organised a hiding place for them in a shed. Olga returned to the ghetto. Despite being concealed and exercising every precaution, one neighbour noticed their presence and reported it to the Germans. Shortly after, German military police appeared at the home.

Antoni recalls, "SS officers came to our home. I was little and my father held me by the hand. One young SS officer said, 'If we find any Jews here, we'll put you all up against a wall and shot.' At that, my father fainted." The Germans conducted a search, but did not find the concealed women.

Rozalia and Irena remained with the Fedorów family until the akcja in the ghetto had ended. During that time, the family cared for them, brought them food and lifted their spirits. After a few days, the women returned to the ghetto. The risk involved in keeping them any longer was just too great.

After a certain time, the whole Korec family ended up in a labour camp. When conditions worsened considerably, they again decided to try to get themselves to the "Aryan side". At first, they got Rozalia and Irena out, then Olga and Józef. Again, Ewa Fedorów helped them. She found them a place in Borysław where they could hide - a hiding place organised in the attic of one of the houses. The house's owned had agreed - but for payment. The Korec family still had some financial resources and could pay, in part, for being hidden. They spent four months in hiding there until the entry of the Red Army.

During that time, Ewa Fedorów supported them by bringing them food, money and the latest information. The girl was their link to the outside world. While in hiding, Irena Korec kept a diary in which she described the family's wartime experiences and the help that they had received from, among others, the Fedorów family.

Following the end of WOrld War II, the Korec family emigrated to Canada. Olga became a teacher, teaching, among other subjects, about the Holocaust. Through letters, she remained in contact with the Fedorów  Mosingiewicz families. Antoni Mosingiewicz met Irena and Olga in Warsaw.

On 12th March 2013, the members of the Fedorów and Mosingiewicz families were honoured with the title of Righteous Among the Nations.

Explaining what motivated the families to provide help, Antoni Mosingiewicz said, "I don't really know what motivated my family. It's true that they took a great risk. Ordinary, human solidarity. Put simply, they were Jewish friends who found themselves in a difficult situation after the Germans arrived. They needed help and we helped them”.

Bibliography

  • Łukasz Kamiński, 12.12.2015