The Bajak Family

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Story of Rescue - The Bajak Family

The Rescued

Father Grzegorz Pawłowski was born in a very religious Jewish family in Zamość. His true name is Jakub Hersz Griner. He had a brother, Chaim, who was the eldest of his siblings, and two sisters - Szajndla and Sura. Jakub was the youngest among Mariem and Mendel Griners' children. His parents lived off the wood and coal trade, they also rented an orchard, in summer.

After the war broke out

Jakub was eight years old when the war broke out. Zamość was occupied first by Russians and next, by the Germans. Grzegorz’s brother escaped with the retreating Russian troops.

At the start of the war, the Nazi occupation meant only the deterioration of living conditions and acts of humiliation, but not death, for Jews. But come 1941, the extermination started. Some Jews were removed to death camps, others, like the Griners, were displaced to the transitory camp in Izbica. There, during one of the “Nazi actions” Jakub managed to escape to the “Aryan” part of the town.

People who helped the Rescued

Father Grzegorz recalls that he was wandering for a long time, not allowed to stay at any house for long. For the longest period, he stayed at the Bajak and the Kuron families where he minded their cattle. He had relatively little safety concerns, because an unknown Jewish boy had arranged a false baptism certificate for him.

After the war

After the liberation, he ended up in an orphanage in Tomaszów Lubelski, where he went to school and was baptized. After primary school, he went to junior high school in Lublin and then in Puławy. He graduated from the theological seminary in Lublin, and with time, he started to talk more openly about his origin.

As a priest, he asked to be sent to the diocese of Jerusalem. He was allowed to leave in 1970, alhough he says that he did it quite against himself, because he felt very comfortable, in Poland. In Israel, he visited his brother who lived in Haifa, however due to the religious differences he found it hard to live together with his family. He had managed to find his brother after an article about his fate had been published in 1966 in an important catholic newspaper in Poland.

Currently, father Grzegorz Pawłowski works in Saint Peter's Church in Jaffa. In Izbica Grzegorz founded a monument commemorating the people who died during the Holocaust.

The relation was recorded in the framework of the project "Lights In The Darkness - The Righteous Among The Nations", courtesy of the "Ośrodek Brama Grodzka - Teatr NN" in Lublin

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Bibliography

  • Dąbrowska Anna red., Światła w ciemności. Sprawiedliwi wśród Narodów Świata. Relacje, Lublin 2008
  • Czajkowski Tomasz, Interview with Grzegorz Pawłowski about help from the Bajak and Kuron families, 1.01.2006