The Czyzykowski Family
Story of Rescue - The Czyzykowski Family
During the War, Marcin Czyżykowski lived in Białystok, together with his wife Maria and two two-year-old daughters. From the moment that a ghetto was established in the city, the Czyżykowski couple openly engaged in helping its inhabitants. The Białystok ghetto held over 40,000 Jews from the city and the surrounding area. Pre-War friends of the family had also ended up there.
Marcin Czyżykowski provided the ghetto with food and medicines. He also helped the neediest of members of Jewish organisations who were active outside the ghetto walls. In 1941, he joined the Home Army (AK) within which, as Bartek, he was assigned the duty of maintaining contact with the ghetto. As part of his activities, he supplied the ghetto with false documents which gave Jews the chance to escape and live on the Aryan side. He organised the transport of weapons to Jewish partisans and the escape of people into the forest.
He also saved Jewish children, leading them into the Aryan side and placing them into crèches, orphanages and kindergartens run by the Sisters of Charity. His actions required great courage and were enormously risky.
Czyżykowski wrote, ”My assignment was to be the contact with the ghetto. I saved children through my contacts with the clergy. I once transferred twelve infants, some of whom were still in cradles. I was scared that their crying would attract attention to me. The Sisters of Charity accepted the children into their crèche, the older ones entering their kindergarten.”
The Czyżykowski home served as a hiding-place for ghetto escapees. Among those hidden there were the Kaczmarczyk and Neumark families. Maria and Marcin saw their providing help to needy Jews as their obligation, regardless of the problems that this would entail.
In April 1944, Marcin Czyżykowski was arrested by the Gestapo for his activity in the underground and put into prison. He was then moved to the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp. Upon his relaease, he returned to Białystok.