The Andzelm family

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Story of Rescue - The Andzelm family

In 1940, the Germans established a ghetto in Kazimierz Dolny, in the vicinity of Lubelska Street and Mały Rynek (Small Market). Mojżesz Kershenbaum was one of its inmates. From March 1942, selected Jews considered able to work were moved from the Kazimierz Dolny ghetto to a labor camp near Opole Lubelskie. Mojżesz Kershenbaum was among them. Shortly afterwards he managed to escape from the camp and went to Janowiec in the Radom district, where he rented a room from Stefan Andzelm's mother. Stefan lived nearby with his wife Waleria and three children: thirteen-year-old daughter Maria and younger sons Jan and Stanisław.

In August 1942, the Germans organized an operation in Janowiec and deported a group of Jews to the Treblinka extermination camp. Mojżesz Kershenbaum and his friend Izrael Szwarcwort, who were in the town, left their current shelter and hid in Stefan and Waleria Andzelm's house.

The Polish family could not accommodate the escapees in the small house that they occupied, so they prepared a shelter for them in the cowshed. To do that, Stefan, Mojżesz and Izrael dug out a hole under the cowshed's floor and camouflaged it appropriately so that guests and neighbors did not see the additional tenants. The men lived in the hideout for the months to come. The Andzelms' children, and in particular the oldest Maria, also helped the hiding men by bringing them food, hygienic products and taking them for walks outside.

On the day the German occupation ended and the Red Army entered the village, a shell fell on the Andzelms' yard, fatally wounding Stefan. When neighbors found out that the Andzelms had been hiding Jews during the war, their reaction was negative. Waleria was accused that she and Stefan profited from hiding Jews while exposing the whole village to a threat. In fear of attacks, Waleria moved with her children to Lublin, to an apartment rented by Mojżesz Kershenbaum. This time he was helping them, returning the favor of the past years of the German occupation. After some time Mojżesz married Maria. However, they did not stay in Poland but emigrated to the United States.

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 Wiktorii Andzelm, 349/24/338