Biesaga Jozef

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Story of Rescue - Biesaga Jozef

In June 1941 the Biesaga family lodged Dora Nassan and her little child at their house in Smardzowice (20 km form Krakow). Dora was a daughter of a local tradesman, Zelinger, who was acquainted with Józef Biesaga (a father) before the war. She had been hiding in the attic for three months when her husband, David Nassan, who had been visiting her at the Biesagas’, decided to move to the forest, where the rest of their family was. They were  tracked down by Nazis, who captured them all and shot dead in the cemetery in Skała. Under Germans’ fire, David managed to escape.

Completely naked, David turned up at the Biesagas’ house during the night. Stefania (a mother) protested but the father remained unresponsive. Józef Biesaga (a son) recalls: “It was clear that exposure would only mean death (…) But we did it, as they say, out of a sense of higher duty! Yes, a Catholic’s duty.”

The Biesagas arranged a hiding place in a barn. It was entered through a kennel, and the entrance was covered with straw. The family brought  David food every day. He went to the house once a fortnight to take a bath; more often - to talk. He came from the country and wanted to work on the farm. The father allowed him to, but only at night. The house was far from a road and last in the village, which ensured some degree of safety. However, each time David was about to leave his place, the Biesaga brothers (sons) checked the neighbourhood. Also Dora’s brother, Samuel Zelinger, used to turn up at the Biesagas’. He received food and bed.

Dawid Nassan would visit the Biesaga family after the war. He corresponded with them after he left for Israel. He died about 1958.

Dora’s brother, Samuel Zelinger, applied for the honour and the title of the Righteous Among the Nations for Józef Biesaga.  



  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, 349, 2496
  • Kaczmarek Olga, Interview with Józef Biesaga, 6.05.2009