The Czolowski Family

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Story of Rescue - The Czolowski Family

Aniela and Stanisław Czołowski, together with their daughter Zofia, lived in Lwów. Czołowski ran a paper wholesale warehouse. Through his business contacts, but not only, he knew many Lwów Jews.

After the outbreak of the War, Lwów found itself under Soviet occupation. In June 1941, the Germans occupied the city and immediately began persecuting the Jewish population. By July, they had already organised a ghetto there which existed until 1943. Gradually, they exterminated the people enclosed there by sending them to camps at Sobibor, Bełżec and Janów, as well as in mass executions in the nearby forests. 

Czołowski endeavoured to help his Jewish friends. When Dr.Mieczysław Bagnet, an ophthalmologist from Kraków, turned to him for help, he personally went to the ghetto. During that visit, he was arrested and placed in prison. Numerous attempts by his family eventually led to Stanisław's release, but by this time he was seriously ill.

Before the War, Aniela was friendly with Klara Penzias. When her friend found herself inside the ghetto, Mrs Czołowska provided her with food and later obtained "Aryan" papers for her. Klara died before the end of the occupation.

The Czołowski's also helped other Jews who were not friends. Sabina and Lola Szenicer, as well as Maria Warschauer, fled Warsaw for the east in 1939. Along the way, they met a man driving a cart who, not only drove the exhausted women closer to the Bug River, but also organised overnight accommodation for them on a nearby estate and paid for their crossing of the river. They then parted company, not knowing anything about each other.

Forty years later, Maria recognised that man in a photograph she was looking at at a friend's house. It was Stanisław, and that friend happened to be his daughter. In a testimony for the Jewish Historical Institute, Maria wrote this, "I am happy that this completely unexpected circumstance has allowed me to express my gratitude to the daughter of the man whom I knew only briefly, but who played such a crucial role in my life - a life I owe to him. (…) I want to (…) honour this already deceased man to whom I will be forever grateful and who I will never forget - Mr.Stanisław Czołowski”. (Source: The Book of the Righteous", ed Michał grynberg, Warsaw, 1939).

Bibliography

  • Lwów – historia
  • Grynberg Michał, Księga Sprawiedliwych, Warszawa 1993

    The lexicon includes the stories of Poles honoured with the title of Righteous Among the Nations in the years 1963-1989. The list of entries is preceded by a preface by Icchak Arad and Chaim CheferThe Righteous of the World.