The Bajak Family

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Story of Rescue - The Bajak Family

Jakub Hersz Griner (later Father Grzegorz Pawłowski) was born in a very religious Jewish family in Zamość. 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 small wood and coal trade, they also leased an orchard in summer.

Jakub was eight years old when World War II broke out. Zamość was occupied first by Russians and – after a couple of days – by the German Army. Chaim escaped with the retreating Russian troops.

In the beginning the Nazi occupation meant mostly the deterioration of living conditions and acts of humiliation, but not mass death, for Jews. But in 1941, the extermination started. The Griners, were displaced to the transitory camp in Izbica. Young Jakub managed to escape.

Jakub recalls that he was wandering for a long time through fields and forests. The peasants would not allow him to stay in their houses for long. He felt little safer, since some unknown to him Jewish boy met on the way gave him a false baptism certificate for him.

Finally he reached the Bajak’s farm. They treated let him stay and treated him well. After a quarrel he left their house and went to their neighbors - the Kurons. They send him to school. When he felt that the sister of his host suspected him of being a Jew, he returned to the Bujaks who had moved to another village. Everywhere he went, he worked on the farm, mostly gazing cattle. Jakub was baptized after the war. He became a catholic priest. 

Prepared based on the relation, recorded in the framework of the project "Lights In The Darkness - The Righteous Among The Nations", courtesy of the “Grodzka Gate – NN Theatre” Centre in Lublin