The Dudek Family

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Story of Rescue - The Dudek Family

In the winter of 1940 Stanisław and Maria Dudek from the village of Odrzykoń in the Krosno county took in a little Jewish girl. They called her Cesia and have been taking care of her for 5 years as if she was their own daughter.

In the fall of 1940 the girl’s grandmother Suessman Katz – owner of a sawmill probably located in Krosno – asked one of her employees to hide her granddaughter. Although he was not able to do that, he contacted her with the Dudeks, who agreed to help. In the winter of 1940 a meeting was organized in a forest near Odrzykoń and Stanisław Dudek took the girl to his house. She started living with him and his wife Maria. They soon baptized her at the local parish church, giving her the name Cecylia Dudek.

The childless Dudeks treated Cesia as if she was their own daughter. When she appeared, it was a sensation for all the inhabitants of Odrzykoń, who were aware of her Jewish descent. Stanisław Dudek reported in the local Municipal Council that he had found a girl in the forest. After a few months he and his adopted daughter were summoned to the Gestapo seat in Krosno. A Nazi commission examined the girl and stated she had no “Semitic features”.

Cecylia – who currently uses the name Cipora – recalls that when she was young she had no idea about her Jewish descent. From her childhood, she mainly remembers hunger. When she was living at the Dudeks’, she used to pasture geese and sleep on the kitchen floor. She also remembers that while she was questioned at the Gestapo in Krosno, someone held a gun to her head and checked if she knew Catholic prayers.

After the war, in 1946 representatives of a Jewish organization found Cesia – they found out about the girl from her parents’ friends. She was taken to an orphanage in Krosno and lost contact with her adoptive parents. She was later transferred to other orphanages in Kraków, Bratislava, Germany and France. In 1948 she got to an orphanage in Israel. She was named Cipora Beer.

She did not know anything about her roots for a long time – it was only in 1956 that she met her stepbrother who had spent the war in Russia and who told her about her biological family. It turned out he was the only one who survived. Cipora’s mother Beila Katz married Abraham Vogel in 1920. They had 6 children: Malka, Nachman, the twins Frimet and Feiga, Josef and Mechel. Malka died when she was a baby and all the other children were killed during the Second World War. Abraham died in 1929 and in 1935 Beila married the father of Cipora, Chemie Weinstein-Beer. Apart from her, they had 2 more children: Chaim and Mariem. It remains unknown how Chaim and the father of Cipora died. Her mother and younger sister were hiding at their house until 1943, when they were killed because a neighbor denounced them to the Gestapo.

In 1960 Cipora got married. She now lives in Israel, has 4 children and 12 grandchildren. It was precisely her children who persuaded her to come to Poland for her 70th birthday, in 2009. She then visited Odrzykoń for the first time since the Nazi occupation.

In 2001 an inhbitant of Odrzykoń, Kazimierz Krasowski, started making efforts to honor the Dudek family with the title „Righteous Among the Nations”.


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