The Dorota family

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Story of Rescue - The Dorota family

The Dorota family lived in the village of Młodowa near Lubaczów (Rawa Ruska Poviat). Antoni Dorota had once been the village leader. He was a widower. After the death of his wife, he lived on with several children of theirs.

Helena and Wolf Remer, a Jewish family, lived in Lubaczów. In 1936, they had a son they named Józef (Joseph). During the German occupation, the Remer family had to move to a ghetto which was created in Lubaczów in October 1942. Before moving, they left their belongings with their neighbours who were their friends and who promised to hide them if need be. In the ghetto, Wolf worked at an armaments plant.

Close to the end of 1942, the Remers learned that the ghetto was to be liquidated soon. They cut the wire fence of the ghetto, made their way through and fled. The Lubaczów ghetto was indeed liquidated close to the beginning of January 1943 and its inhabitants were shot on the spot or transported to the death camp in Bełżec.

The Remers hid in the attic of a German-occupied building. For a week, they lived on what little food they brought with themselves from the ghetto and drank melted snow.Hunger and fear of discovery soon drove them out of their hiding place. They sneaked out at night and went to the friends with whom they had left their belongings. They were hidden in a barn. Six weeks later, it turned out that two Jewish girls whom the Remers met on their way were caught. They were tortured and confessed that there was a Jewish family in hiding in the area.

It was then that the Remers ended up at the house of Antoni Dorota who agreed to hide them for a short period of time in exchange for what remained of their belongings. He prepared an underground hiding place for them inside the pig sty. It was a small room and it was only possible to stay inside it sitting. Air could only get inside via clay pipes and the floor was covered with a layer of straw. No daylight ever made its way to the hiding place. The Remers hid in such conditions for 22 months.

The family of Antoni Dorota was a poor one and he could barely afford to run his household. The Remers had to rely on the help of his daughter Aniela for the most part. She would bring them whatever food she could, sometimes even pig feed. “Had it not been for her, we would not have lived through that protracted nightmare,” Joseph Remer wrote in his statement.

After the arrival of Soviet troops in June 1944, the Remers transferred the ownership of their house to the family of Antoni Dorota. The Remers had a daughter, Miriam, in a camp for displaced persons. In 1948, they moved to Montreal, where Wolf died. In 1962, Joseph Remer married Sara Benjamin. He ran a printing house. He lived to see three children and nine grandchildren of his.

In 1992, the Yad Vashem Institute awarded Antoni Dorota and his daughter Aniela Mirkowska with the Righteous Among the Nations title.