The Lisowski Family

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Story of the Lisowski family

Before the outbreak of the World War II, the Lisowski family lived in the village of Henryków located near Warsaw. The father was an officer in the Polish Army and a supporter of Józef Piłsudski. The mother managed a restaurant. They had three sons. In the 1930s, the Jewish Inwentarz family moved in the neighborhood. Lisowskis’ youngest son, Witold, became friends with the neighbors’ son Józef, called “Dudek”.

In 1941, the Nazis displaced the Inwentarz family and other Jews of Henryków to a ghetto in Ludwisin (now Legionowo). Witold’s brother, Jan, helped them by delivering food and other necessities. During the dissolution of the ghetto that took place in October 1942, Dudek managed to escape. [Other sources claim that he escaped from the transportation to Treblinka concentration camp – editor’s note]. He spent the whole summer and early fall of 1943 helping at a homestead in the country, however, when people started figuring that he was Jewish, he ran away and was hiding in nearby forests.

In November, exhausted and starving, he returned to Henryków. The Lisowskis took care of the boy and put him in a small room at the attic of their house.

“He had excellent conditions, Witold Lisowski remembers. Food was in abundance. He could eat to his heart’s content. The only thing he couldn’t do was walking, because anybody that would hear the steps… And there were windows, small windows… And he could only look at his beloved Henryków from a distance, without coming closer. (…) In the evening, when everybody was already home, we would close the door, cover the windows, Dudek would come downstairs, and the family life would start.”

In April 1944, for fear of the inquiring neighbors, Dudek left the Lisowskis’ house and, until the end of the war, he was hiding in forests.

During the Warsaw Uprising, the house belonging to the Lisowski family burned down, and the family itself, miraculously saved from the death in the Nazi hands, reached the village of Wiejce in Kampinos where they lived to see the liberation.

Soon after the war, Józef, who survived, emigrated to Palestine. Today he still stays in touch with Witold.  

Other Stories of Rescue in the Area

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Bibliography

  • Okuniewska Elżbieta, Interview with Witold Lisowski, 27.04.2009
  • Grynberg Michał, Księga Sprawiedliwych, Warszawa 1993

    The lexicon includes the stories of Poles honoured with the title of Righteous Among the Nations in the years 1963-1989. The list of entries is preceded by a preface by Icchak Arad and Chaim CheferThe Righteous of the World.

  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009