The Dobrodziej family

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Story of Rescue - The Dobrodziej family

During the occupation, Władysław and Krystyna Dobrodziej were a young couple living in Warsaw. Krystyna’s mother, Helena Bunin, lived in the nearby Międzylesie. Those three people saved at least a dozen or so men and women from death. Władysław was the most important as far as helping others was concerned – he infiltrated the ranks to the Navy-Blue Police and worked for the Polish underground.

Before the great liquidation action of the Warsaw ghetto during the summer of 1942, Władysław managed to smuggle a married couple, Henryk and Maria Angielczyk, out of the ghetto. They were hidden at Helena’s house, in a hiding place in the attic. They were soon to be joined by six other friends of the family (Zygmunt Rudniański with his wife, his brother lawyer Rudniański, Adam Nauman, Róża Bukiet, and Maria – surname unknown) so Władysław tried and rented a detached house for them all in Piastów.

Before that, while visiting the Angielczyk family in the ghetto, Władysław let many people know his address so that they could contact him if they managed to get out of the ghetto. Barbara Grosglik was one such person. She was captured by Kripo (Kriminalpolizei) and released for a substantial bribe. The Dobrodziej family helped her find a place for her infant child, Elżbieta, in a nursing home named after a priest under the name of Boduen while Barbara herself stayed at Helena’s house for a long time. Another person whom the Dobrodziej family supported was Władysław Górzyński, a musician and a composer whose son, Józef, a friend of Władysław Dobrodziej, was killed at the beginning of the German occupation. The Dobrodziej family managed to find work for him in Austria, successfully convincing everyone that he was a Pole. They also helped the families of their friends and acquaintances. This was the case when they took in a five-year-old boy. However, they were forced to quickly pass him on to other helpers as one of their neighbours threatened to denounce them.

All people whom the Dobrodziej family helped managed to survive the war. Władysław himself, however, died. He was shot by the Germans in January 1944, while performing a task for the underground. Ever since that time, it was Krystyna who managed the help they provided to others.

Their help was selfless. The family did not collect any remuneration and even provided financial aid to people for whom they cared. Those people could count on support from the Dobrodziej family also after the end of the war. They remained in contact with the family, either personally or via letters.

Accounts concerning the Dobrodziej family and Helena Bunin indicate that there were other people helping those in need. For example: Eugenia Bachtig, residing in Warsaw at ul. Pańska 84, hid many people at her place, regardless of the risk. Wanda Biernacka, a patroness of Barbara Grosglik, and her niece, Helena Michalak, a nun employed at a nursing home named after a priest under the name of Boduen.

The Yad Vashem Institute awarded Helena, Krystyna, and Władysław the Righteous Among the Nations title in 1994.

Other Stories of Rescue in the Area

Bibliography

  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009
  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, Dział odznaczeń Yad Vashem. Dokumentacja sprawy Władysława i Krystyny Dobrodziejów, 349/24/1921