The Bieliński Family

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Story of Rescue - The Bieliński Family

Zofia and Zdzisław Bieliński were members of the Lviv intelligentsia and their house was a place where many intellectuals from the town regularly met and discussed various issues. Zdzisław worked as a doctor and was employed in the Department of Physiology of the Medicine Faculty at the University of Lviv. Zofia worked as Zdzisław's assistant. Before the war, both Zofia and Zdzisław had contacts with students of various nationalities and ethnicities, including Jews. They opposed the implementation of numerus clausus at universities. They also had various Jewish friends and acquaintances coming from the medical circle.

In 1941, when Germans attacked the USSR and the persecution of Jews became much more severe, the Bieliński household was a shelter for the family's Jewish friends. Bieliński was laid off, but soon he opened a private clinic, which served as a cover-up for the aid provided to Jews. “The private clinic became a fairly safe contact point for underground activities. Here, the “patients” were the members of the National Guard, as well as many Jews.” Through the activity in his clinic, Zdzisław Bieliński managed to rescue, among others, Anna Fischer and her brother Dawid, as well as one of the friends of the family – an old lady who spoke Yiddish in delirium, which posed an additional danger to her life.

Bieliński often visited the Lviv Ghetto. When he entered the area, he put on an armband with the Star of David. He brought medications to his Jewish friends in need. Among others, he helped Jerzy Zieliński, Seweryn Bruh-Żurawicki, Janina Żurawicka and Dr Alfred Voegel. Zdzisław and Zofia would also pay for shelters for those Jews that decided to live on the “Aryan” side of Lviv and surrounding towns, but could not afford it. Moreover, Bieliński helped transport Jews from one hiding place to another. In all his activities, Zdzisław was always supported by his wife.

After the war, Zofia Bielińska said: “Why did we help them? Not because of financial or religious reasons. We were both atheists. We helped because we hated racial prejudice, because we felt compassion for the persecuted, because we hated fascism and because we were Poles.” In February 1945, Zdzisław Bieliński was murdered (at the time, he was the vice-president of the Society of Polish Patriots) by unknown perpetrators. Bielińska moved to Warsaw.

It is unsure whether Zofia Bielińska kept in touch with the people that she and her husband her helped during the occupation.

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Bibliography

  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, Dział odznaczeń Yad Vashem. Dokumentacja sprawy Zdzisława i Zofii Bielińskich, 349/24/1386
  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009