The Choma Family

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Story of Rescue - The Choma Family

I wasn’t scared, because I thought- ‘Who would come here?’  In 1942, Herszek Zylbersztajn's family was displaced from the village Ostrów Nadrybski and assigned to the ghetto in Łęczna, then to the camp in Trawniki. One day, a friend from before the war named Feliks Choma saw Herszek and his brother-in-law Izaak Rozengarten through the wire fence. Feliks's wife, Weronika, reports that her husband said to them “Flee!” She continues, “Rumour had it, they would all get killed.” Herszek and Icek did manage to run away. The year was 1943.

“They went to Łęczna, but nobody there offered to keep them, though they knew people. It might have been in October; everybody was off digging potatoes, but I had stayed, and, suddenly, I heard them calling me – ‘Missus Chomowa...’

Weronika convinced her husband to let the Jews hide in the attic of their barn. At the time, Feliks was the village elder and, though the Germans would never come to his house, the Chomas were wary of their neighbours.

“I wasn’t scared, because I thought- ‘Who would come here?’ – but my husband was very afraid. A neighbour saw Herszek in the lake and mentioned this to my husband. We were afraid he would tell everybody in the village; this was not a good neighbour.”

“Herszek knew that his wife and children had been murdered” Weronika reports. “He wondered if his wife had had to watch their kids get murdered... He cried a lot...” After the war Herszek and Izaak both got married and moved to Israel. To this day they remain in touch with Weronika.

Bibliography

  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, Dział Dokumentacji Odznaczeń Yad Vashem, 349/24/2120
  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009
  • Kołacz Grzegorz, Interview with Weronika Choma, 19.08.2007