The Charuk Family

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Story of Rescue - The Charuk Family

Jan and Rozalia Charuk with their sons: Zdzisław (born 1933) and Stanisław (born 1936) ran a farm in the settlement Lechówka (Siedliszcze Commune, Chełm District, Lublin Province). They used to do shopping at the shop in Pawłów – Jan's home village – ran by the Pachters: Fiszel and Ester with the help of Estera's mother – Sara Nisenkorn.

Sara and her two grandchildren, Riwka (born 1936) and Josele (Józef) (born 1937), lost their lives when the Jews from Pawłów were displaced to the ghetto in Włodawa in September 1942. The parents with two older children, the 9-year-old Żenia (Golda?) and seven-year-old Chaim, escaped to the forest. Initially, Ester with the children used to hide in a primitive bunker which, during a round-up, was found by local Poles but they did not hand them over to the Germans.

Estera with the children was desperate to find another shelter. She hid in a haystack in a certain farm. When the owner found them, he let them stay for three days. At the same time, Fiszel tried to find the farmers who would agree to take the family for longer. He came to Jan Charuk's farm by chance. The Pachters were allowed to stay, first for two weeks but, eventually, they remained with them until the end of the war.

The adults together prepared a shelter under the cowshed. During the day, the Pachter family stayed in the house for a few hours and children kept the guard all the time, observing nearby fields through the gaps in the cowshed's roof to make sure that no stranger approaches the house. The hidden Jews were also protected by dogs. In case of immediate danger, the Pachters hid in the shelter.

The Charuks shared food with the Pachter family, supplied water to the shelter and took waste away. The son, Zdzisław Charuk, reported that his family also hid two fugitives from the death camp in Sobibór. When the Charuks were afraid that their farm could be searched, the Jews escaped to the forest. One night, their house was raided by armed assaulters who demanded to disclose where the Pachters' shelter was.

After liberation, in the summer 1944, the Jews left the Charuks' house and went to Chełmno. In the summer 1945, Fiszel Pachter made a deposition on his experiences under the German occupation. They Pachters kept in touch with the Charuk family after they had left to Israel. At first, letters were written by the parents, then by their children: Chaim and Zahawa Szwergold.

In her statement of 1992, Zahawa underlines that their guardians' motifs for their activity were "friendship and love of other people."

In 1981, the Yad Vashem Institute awarded Jan and Rozalia Charuk the titles of the Righteous among the Nations.


  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, 301, 5440
  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, 349, 1776