The Adamczyk family

enlarge map

Story of Rescue - The Adamczyk family

In autumn 1942, the German authorities started liquidating ghettos in the Lublin region. This forced numerous Jewish families to flee to neighbouring villages and forests in the hopes of finding refuge. The situation was like that in the vicinity of Wola Przybysławska where the household inhabited by Szymon Adamczyk, his wife Weronika, and his three sons – Józef, Stanisław, and Bolesław – was located.

The Adamczyks helped many refugees, providing them with food and accommodation. The support they provided was ad hoc – it was intended to increase the chance of survival of the Jews. This changed when Dora Wassertrum, aged 16 then, came to their house. The girl was from Markuszew, a settlement several kilometres distant. She ran away from a sweep operation organised by the Germans in the surrounding forests. The Adamczyks took her in for the night. In the morning, Bolesław, aged 15, went with Dora to look for traces of her sister, Estera.

Unfortunately, Estera turned out to have been among those whom the Germans captured and killed. Bolesław described this in the following way in 1989: “a shocking sight spread in front of us, massacred human bodies of men, women, and children alike lay there, blood-stained, every one of them took a shot to the back of their head and we found the body of her elder sister, Estera, among other bodies”.

In spite of his young age, Bolesław did not hesitate and took Dora back home with him. The Adamczyks decided that they had to hide her for a longer period of time. She was treated like a member of the family. For obvious reasons, she often had to stay inside an especially prepared hiding place. She remained with the Adamczyks until 1944 when the Germans fled before the Soviet Army.

“We hid Dora Wasserstrum, now Cingel, strictly out of humanitarian considerations, shocked by the brutality of the Germans and the harm done to innocent people and the Jewish populace – we have never asked for and we have never received any material reward for what we did”, Bolesław recalls years afterwards.

“It was only thanks to his help and the help of his family that I managed to survive the war and persecution. That I lived through that difficult period of oppression for Jews is thanks to Mr Adamczyk and his humane treatment of me”, Dora Cingel wrote.

In 1992, the Yad Vashem Institute awarded the Righteous Among the Nations title to parents of Bolesław Adamczyk, to Bolesław himself and to his brother Józef.

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 Bolesława Adamczyka, 349/24/5272