The Bradło Family

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Story of Rescue - The Bradło Family

The Bradło family, composed of six members, had a farm and 3ha of land in the village of Lubcza near Tarnów. In the autumn of 1942, they gave shelter to the families of Abraham Einspruch and Bianimin Dereszewicz, who originally lived in Słotowa, a village located 4km away from Lubcza. In total, they rescued 13 people.

The Jews went into hiding to avoid being transported to the ghetto in Tarnów. Before they came to the Bradło family, they had sought help in Słotowa, in the household of a man called Ryba. His son was an underground activist and he was wanted by the Gestapo. The Ryba house was often inspected by German authorities, so the Jews had to look for a different hiding place.

They asked Klara and Szczepan Bradło to help them. Creating a hiding place for so many people was not easy. They built an underground bunker in the shed. After the war, Franciszka Kozioł said: “At night, we would work together to build a deep bunker under the shed, which could be entered through a tunnel with a double lock. Inside, the Jews slept on wooden bunk beds. Through the tunnel, we gave them food and brought out garbage and waste.” Abraham Einspruch, one of the rescued, explained how they worked on building the bunker: “Late at night, we carried all the soil we had dug up to the manure and covered it with straw. When there was too much soil in the manure, we carried the rest out in baskets and bags into the nearby gully.”

The Bradło family helped the Jews for 26 months, until the end of German occupation. All family members were actively engaged in providing help. Szczepan and Klara's three sons provided food for everyone and Franciszka was responsible for cooking and washing clothes. Sometimes the Jews would leave the bunker at night and go to the Ryba household to get more food. About half a year before the end of the occupation, four resettled people were sent to the Bradło household. They didn't know about the Jewish people in hiding, which made the operation all even more difficult than before.

Klara Bradło was so afraid of being denounced that she eventually lost her mind and suffered various mental disorders for the rest of her life. At the end of the war the local community found out about the aid that the Bradło family extended to Jews. Many people thought they had betrayed their motherland, threatened them and believed that they hid various valuable objects belonging to the rescued.

Despite numerous difficulties and tribulations, all Jews hiding in the Bradło household survived the war. In 1945, they moved from Poland to the USA, Canada, and Israel. Rachel Kazpl Bochner died in 1954 and Estera Kazpl Bochner – in 1957; they were both relatives of Bieniamin Dereszewicz, who died in 1971 in the USA. After the war, Franciszka still kept in touch with the Bochner and the Dereszewicz families, as well as with Abraham Einspruch.

Bibliography

  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009
  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, Dział odznaczeń Yad Vashem. Dokumentacja sprawy Franciszki Bradło-Kozioł, 349/24/427