The Celuch Family

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Story of Rescue - The Celuch Family

Before the Second World War, Konstanty and Justyna Celuch were living together with their three children on the outskirts of the village of Pieczonogi in the Proszowice county, current Małopolskie province. They were often in touch with the Figowicz family – Konstanty used to deliver products to their shop in Nadzów, located 2 kilometers away from Pieczonogi. What is more, the daughter of the Celuchs Janina knew her peer Rachela (Rózia) Brzeska from school and the girls soon became close friends. Rachela, who also came from the nearby Nadzów, went to school with Janina in Ibramowice. Justyna Celuch had almost motherly feelings for the girl.

All the close relatives of Rachela – her parents Dora and Cwi, and her two younger sisters Pola and Sara – were killed. Rachela found shelter at the house of the Celuchs, who hid her and her future husband Herman (Herszl) Figowicz. Rozalia turned up at the Celuchs’ in the fall of 1941 or 1942. They sheltered both Rachela and her companion. Justyna Celuch, sympathizing with the girl, did not want to hear any offers of payment. She was also the one who decided to keep Brzeska and her fiancé, when a year later Konstanty was overcome by doubt and started fearing repressions.

“She finally came here, asking if they would… So mother said: »Come, my child, stay here, stay«. And so on… But as she was staying, she also took her boyfriend… so he would stay with her. Fine! He’ll stay too. Let him stay. So they kept them” – recalls Tadeusz Celuch in his interview for the Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

At first, the Jews were hiding in a special camouflaged bunker in the barn. Because of the cold, the couple was soon moved to the attic of the house, where they stayed until the end of the war. They only left their hiding place at night. The Celuchs provided them with food and disposed of the wastes.

For some time in November 1943 the Celuchs also sheltered an unknown Jewish woman with two children. Soon after she left, as a result of a denunciation by the neighbors, their farm was searched. Konstanty and his son Tadeusz were brutally beaten. However, in spite of the maltreatment and the search, the Celuchs did not turn in the hidden Jews.

“When he grabbed me… and knocked me against the wall… Against the wall. He cut my head, my nose and my lips. My head was all covered with blood! And that’s only when my mother ran towards me and threw herself at me. So they left me alone, otherwise maybe they’d have killed me”

The Celuchs were also robbed by thugs, who stole Brzeska’s belongings they had been keeping at their house. Towards the end of the war Tadeusz became a courier of the local units of the Home Army. After the Soviet Army entered in January 1945, the Figowiczs left their hiding place. They first went to Cracow, then to Wrocław, and then left to Israel. Both passed away in the nineties. Their son and daughter are still in touch with the family of Tadeusz Celuch.

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Bibliography

  • Wirtualny Sztetl, Dorit Goddard about her parents Rosa and Zvi Figovitz
  • Łuczak Czesław, Polityka ludnościowa i ekonomiczna hitlerowskich Niemiec w okupowanej Polsce, Poznań 1979
  • Madajczyk Czesław, Polityka III Rzeszy w okupowanej Polsce, Warszawa 1970
  • Krzysztof Banach, Interview with Tadeusz Celuch, 17.07.2010
  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, 349, 2467