The Biesiada Family

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Story of Rescue - The Biesiada Family

Julia and Edmund Biesiada lived, with their small daughter, in Warsaw, on 205 Czerniakowska Street.

At the end of 1941, a small Jewish girl appeared at their home asking for help. She was Szoszana, 13-year-old daughter of the tailor, Brzoza. The Biesiada family hid her, calling her "Wanda" and registered her as a housemaid. Some time later, Szoszana's younger sister, Cyla, came to Julia and Edmund. The Biesiada's decided to hide her also in their home. They gave her the name "Danuta" and treated her as their own child.

When, in the spring of 1943, the uprising broke out in the ghetto, the third daughter of the tailor Brzoza, Fela, escaped from there. She turned to the Biesiada's for help and, despite the fact that it would be a dangerous situation for everyone, they did not refuse her. They obtained false identity papersfor her and hid her in a village with friends whom they trusted.

The Biesiada's also helped other Jew. Among them was Magdalena Roliwad, whom they ransomed from the hands of the Gestapo who released the woman in exchange for a gold bracelet and 30,000 złotych. They arranged false papers for two other people - Władysława Ordzy and Nelkina.

The Brzoza sisters survived the War and, in 1947, they left Poland. Nonetheless, they maintained contact through letters with Julia and Edmund, referring to them as their "mum and dad". In a testimony, for the Jewish Historical Institute, they wrote the following about their carers,

"Risking their own lives, they hid us through the entire time of the occupation.  We came to them poor and ragged, no one was willing to take us in.  They took us in, hid us and kept us [even] when, during the Warsaw uprising in August 1944, they themselves did not have a roof over their heads.” (Source: "The Book of the Righteous", ed. Michał Grynberg, Warsaw, 1993)

Other Stories of Rescue in the Area

Bibliography

  • Grynberg Michał, Księga Sprawiedliwych, Warszawa 1993

    The lexicon includes the stories of Poles honoured with the title of Righteous Among the Nations in the years 1963-1989. The list of entries is preceded by a preface by Icchak Arad and Chaim CheferThe Righteous of the World.