Story of rescue

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The Story of the Ferenc Family

During World War II, Tekla and Stanisław Ferenc lived in the village of Ładyczyn in the Tarnopolskie Province (today in Ukraine). From August 1943 until liberation on May 1944, in their home, they hid their friends – a three-member Jewish family from Mikulińc – Chaim Blum, his wife Malwin and thei daughter  Dusia.

Tekla received the house from Countess Maria Helena Werszowiec-Rey, to whom she had come from a convent orphange as a sixteen-year-old. There, she was promoted from maid to “lady-in-waiting” and, together, they travelled around Europe. In 1925, Maria, as proof of their friendship, gave the girl the farm and Stanisław, who married Tekla that same year, she made her gamekeeper. Between 1928 and 1941, the Ferenc couple had four children - Maria, Józef, Kazimiera and Michalina. 

Tekla managed and expanded the farm. She often financed the purchase of land from loans she received from Chaim Blum from nearby Mikulińce. They became friends. In the 1930’s, close to two thousand Jews lived in the town. In 1939, Chaim had a daughter Dusia. Her mother died due to shock she experienced witnessing the death of  friend who was shot dead in the market-square in Mikulińc. It is possible that this happened during the pogrom which took place on 5th July 1941, after German troops entered the town. Ukrainian nationalists murdered twelve Jews.

The Help the Ferenc Couple Gave the Blum Family 

Chaim remarried. He married his dead wife’s sister, Malwina. In the spring and summer of 1942, the Germans deported the majority of Mikulińce’s Jews to labour camps or, through Tarnopol, to the death camp in Bełżec. Around six hundred people, who remained in the town until October, were deported to the ghetto in Tarnopol or to other ghettos in the region. How Chaim and his family escaped from the hands of the Germans is unknown. In August 1943, all three of them came to the Ferenc couple seeking refuge. 

The Ferenc house was divided into a residential part and a section for animals. Fearing the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), they kept they cattle closeby. For the Blum family, they prepared a hiding-place in the section where the animals were kept – in a pit which had been dug out and then camouflaged. During the day, they were above-ground with the Ferenc couple. When danger approached, they hid below-ground. Under the pretext of feeding the animals, Tekla carried them food and, at the same time, removed any waste. The two families lived in that manner until May 1944.

The Post-War Fate of the Rescuers and the Rescued

After the War and resettlement in the western territories, the Ferenc couple found themselves in Laskowice Oławskie, near Wrocław, while the Blum family were in Legnica, where Chaim died in circumstances which remain unclear. After some time, together with Dusia, Malwina left for Israel.

On 8th August 2017, the Yad Vashem Institute in Jerusalem posthumously honoured the Ferenc couple with the title of Righteous Among the Nations.