The Baran Family

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Story of Rescue - The Baran Family

Józef and Eleonora Baran lived with their 12-year-old daughter and a few-month-old son near Borysław, in Horodyszcze where there was an oil field. Eleonora kept the house and reared the children, whilst her husband worked as a driller.

Their small house onBukowinka Street was a shelter for Franciszka and Zygmunt Kranz and their three-year-old son Henryk. Józef met Zygmunt Kranz in autumn 1941, when they worked together in Horodyszcze. Zygmunt was a mining engineer and was sent to a German forced labour camp for Jews from Borysław.

As he liked his friend, Józef offered Zygmunt to hide his wife and son during deportation. In autumn 1941, at night, Zygmunt brought Franciszka and Henryk to the Barans' house. They lived for several months in one of the two rooms. As the Barans' son was learning to speak and the they were afraid that he would disclose their presence in the house, Józef and Zygmunt arranged a hiding place under the floor. Later, the men made a shelter, reinforced with boards, under the shed floor at a slope, with ventilation. Eleonora brought them food as they stayed there. In January 1943, after the escape from the labour camp, Zygmunt joined his wife and son. In the evenings, the family used to leave the hiding place to take a breath of fresh air and wash in the house.

The Baran family shared everything they had, both the hosts and the hidden Jews ate the same. They kept goats to have milk for children, grew vegetables in the garden as well as tobacco, which they exchanged for food. Józef also exchanged various objects for food in nearby villages, both those belonging to the Kranzs as well as the Barans.

In the hiding place, Zygmunt made various toys for his son using matchboxes, wood and metal. He taught him to draw by the candle. 

The Kranzs remained under the care of the Barans until August 1944, when Borysław was liberated. Just after leaving the hiding place, Henryk, who was 6 years old then, only whispered. Both the Kranzs and thr Barans left Borysław. The Kranzs went to Germany and Norway and, in 1950, they emigrated to Australia but they kept exchanging letters with the Barans.

After retiring, Zygmunt created sculptures commemorating the faces of people who he remembered from Borysław. His son gave these works to the Jewish Holocaust Centre in Elsternwick. Zygmunt told also about the gratuitous help of the Barans, leaving his testimonial on this at USC Shoah Foundation Institute. Henryk worked as a neurologist.

Eleonora wrote in her statement in 1994: "We never told, neither our family nor our friends, that we had helped the Jews during the war.” On 31st May 1994, the Yad Vashem Institute awarded Eleonora and Józef Baran the title of the Righteous among the Nations.

Other Stories of Rescue in the Area

Bibliography

  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, 349, 1943