The Adamczuk family

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Story of Rescue - The Adamczuk family

The Adamczuk family lived in a tiny settlement called Kolonia Ostrów, located east of Krasnystaw and south of Chełm. Their history would be no different from what happened to other people during the German occupation if they had not been visited by the Persiko family, living in the neighbouring village of Horodysko, at the beginning of 1941. The Persikos were on the run from Germans who had started re-settling Jews. The Adamczuks had to take a decision – they could either risk being put to death, for such was the price to be paid for helping the oppressed Jewish people if caught, or get rid of the problem simply by means of slamming the door in the faces of the uninvited guests and not letting them in.

Antoni Adamczuk, the head of the family, did not falter for even a moment: human life needed to be protected at all cost. He had known those people before the war and he would not send them to certain death. He was supported in this by his wife Janina and his children, particularly his son Jan, not even seventeen back then.

Most members of the Persiko family soon fled across the eastern border of Poland. Bluma, the youngest of the Persiko family daughters, stayed with the Polish family. She hid in the attic. She would leave her hiding place only at night. The Adamczuks provided her with all means of sustenance.

Their selflessness was also evident in their helping all Jewish refugees who came to them. It is known, for example, that several other people, including Miriam Breiter, Fogiel Josef, and Szpul Josef, stayed with them before joining the guerilla forces in forests.

The Germans were not the only threat the Adamczuks had to face – there were also their neighbours with their curiosity, tendency to spread rumours, and, sometimes, envy. They were fortunate enough not to have their secret revealed. The Adamczuks and Bluma Persiko whom they hid managed to see the end of German occupation.

After the war, Bluma left for Israel but she maintained contact with the Adamczuks. She tried to help them by means of sending things such as medicines to them. However, their contact was covert and often interrupted. Neither the communist authorities nor neighbours of the Adamczuks took kindly to such communication. Quite often, the Adamczuks would be told “You’ve been hiding Jews”. in an accusatory tone. They had to flee to other settlements in the area. Their correspondence with Bluma ended with the death of Antoni in 1967 and his wife in 1973.

Jan Adamczuk decided to tell their story to the world only in 1990. In his letter to the Embassy of Israel in Poland, he asked that his family be awarded the Righteous Among the Nations title. In spite of his first request being denied, Antoni Adamczuk and Janina Adamczuk were acknowledged as Righteous Among the Nations by the Yad Vashem Institute in 1999. “The Adamczuks were great people”, Bluma Persiko (then Frydman) wrote in a letter to the Institute.

Bibliography

  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009
  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, Dział odznaczeń Yad Vashem. Dokumentacja sprawy Antoniego i Janiny Adamczuków, 349/24/2121