The Bobrowski Family

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Story of Rescue - The Bobrowski Family

Before World War II Helena and Julian Bobrowski, with their four children, lived in Kraków. The Germans arrested Julian at the beginning of the Nazi-occupation of Poland. Later, he was sent to KL Auschwitz where he perished. The Bobrowski’s only son, Jan, served in the AK (Home Army), and did not live at home. Helena remained alone with her daughters.

Before the War, two families lived not far from the Bobrowski’s – the Steinfeld’s and the Weinfeld’s, both assimilated Jews. They had a good relationship with their neighbors.

In 1940, a daughter, Estera, was born to the Steinfeld’s. They moved to nearby Bochnia, where they were forced to live in the ghetto. The father, Mordechaj, ended up in KL Auschwitz, having been caught up in one of the German liquidation Aktionen. His wife, Malka, fled with Estera.

She linked up with their son Zew and daughter, Rachela, Together they reached Kraków. In the autumn of 1942, they knocked on the Bobrowski’s door. Their former neighbors welcomed them warmly. They spent the night there and went on their way. They feared being betrayed by neighbors.

After many heavy experiences, during which Estera perished, the Germans deported the Steinfeld’s to KL Auschwitz. Malka perished. Only Rachela escaped from the train.

She reached Kraków. For four weeks, she hid with the Bobrowski’s. She seldom left the house and, when she did, she pretended to be a sibling – Maria, one of Helena’s daughters.Thanks to the help of the Council to Aid Jews ”Żegota”, she succeeded in escaping from Poland. She reached Slovakia and, from there, she travelled through Hungary and Turkey to Palestine.

Zeew escaped from a death march in January 1945 together with a French Jew, Paul Schafer. They reached Helena’s home. The Bobrowski’s cared for them and helped them until the end of the War.

According to Teresa Bobrowski, ”It was simple humanitarian help. They found themselves in such a situation and there was no option. We had to help”. After the War, Zeew joined his sister in Israel. Until his death, he continued to correspond with the Bobrowski’s.

Bibliography

  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, 349, 2180
  • Andrzejewska Monika, Interview with Teresa Dietrich, 6.04.2009
  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009