The Czubek family

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Story of Rescue - The Czubek family

Before the war, the Krotenbergs, a Jewish family, had been living in Warsaw at ul. Karmelicka 17. Liliana, a daughter of Dora and Julian, was born on 1 June 1940 in Warsaw, after the German occupation had begun. Her father ran a glaze shop at ul. Elektoralna and her mother, even though she graduated from a high school, ran their household. In the autumn of 1940, the Krotenbergs ended up in the Warsaw ghetto and some of their distant relatives were transported to Zamość.

Aleksandra Czubek and Dora Krotenberg had come to know each other many years before the war. Aleksandra was the wet nurse of Dora’s brother and lived in the Bródno district of Warsaw. The two women were friends. Among other things, Aleksandra provided Dora with advice regarding the child. When Dora asked Aleksandra for help during the German occupation, she did not refuse. At the turn of 1941 and 1942, Dora and her daughter Liliana left the ghetto and found shelter on the “Aryan side” at the house of Aleksandra and Władysław Czubek.

Unfortunately, they were denounced soon afterwards and, as a result, the house was searched. Dora, Liliana, and Aleksandra managed to escape while Władysław Czubek was sent to KL Auschwitz where he died.

The women were hidden by friends of Aleksandra: Marianna and Czesław Kardasiewicz. They also lived in the Bródno district. After some time, that family was also reported to the authorities for helping Jews. Germans came and carried out an inspection. “Someone from the family came up with an idea that we should get out of the house. I was a blonde and so was my mother. She took me in her hands and we went outside. There was a German man there who found her attractive and talked to her while other Germans were rummaging through the whole apartment, finding nothing because we were already outside. And then they left. This is how we survived,” Liliana recounted after the war.

Liliana and Aleksandra got on very well with each other and the girl called the woman her grandmother. She keeps calling her that even now. “[Granny] had never graduated from any school, not even an lementary one. I don’t know, I think she had no education and couldn’t even read and write [...] But she was a wonderful person. [...] She treated mum like she were her daughter and me like I were her granddaughter,” Liliana recalled. Unfortunately, Aleksandra was not able to keep hiding them after her husband’s death so Dora and Liliana had to remain with the Kardasiewicz family. They had “Aryan documents” issued for the surname of Winek - Aleksandra’s maiden name. They did not hide all the time but were particularly careful when leaving the apartment. Liliana would play in the yard with Jadwiga, a daughter of the Kardasiewicz family. After some time, she was baptised at their initiative.

Before the Warsaw ghetto was liquidated, Dora would go there to visit her relatives and bring them food. She also got some food for the Kardasiewicz household as their living conditions were quite poor. Aleksandra Czubek kept actively supporting the hiding mother and daughter.

Dora and Liliana managed to live through the occupation. They maintained contact with the Czubek and Kardasiewicz families. Many years later, Liliana recalled that she could finally feel at ease after the two Polish families were awarded with the Righteous Among the Nations title: “I have fulfilled my duty towards them and overcome my cowardice,” she emphasized.

Other Stories of Rescue in the Area

Bibliography

  • Klara Jackl, The interview with Liliana Wencewicz, 10.06.2015