The Dymek and Kolano Family

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Story of Rescue - The Dymek and Kolano Family

Bronisława and  Franciszek Dymek lived in Lwów at ul. Rynek 3, together with Bronisława’s parents, Franciszek and Katarzyna Kolano, and their daughter Maria, born in 1940. Franciszek Dymek worked in a shoe factory on ul. Tokarzewskiego 48, as a shoemaker’s cutter. His father-in-law worked in the shoemakers’ workshop.

During the German occupation of Lwów, the Dymek and Kolano families helped a dozen or so Jews, hiding them in their own home or arranging help for them with friends. Bianka Halpern, a twelve year old girl,  was being hidden in their home. At the end of April 1942, she had been led out of the Lwów ghetto by Franciszek Dymek and hidden throughtout the occupation under the false name of Helena Wilgocka.

At the shoe factory, Dymek befriended Izydor Stark. Izydor asked Franciszek for help to hide his 20 year old sister. Dymek agreed to help and took the girl in for a couple of weeks. Later, he took her to a safe place – to the home of his sister, Karolina Żarska, who lived near Kraków. After a few months, the neighbours began to suspect the woman of hiding a Jew, so the girl had to return to Lwów. She was hidden by Franciszek Kolano in the attic of the shoemakers workshop where he worked.

One day, the Germans searched the factory. Straight way, they climbed into the attic and discovered the dead girl. Hearing what was happening, she killed herself in order not to fall into their hands. Franciszek Kolano jumped out of a window into the courtyard and ran to inform his family of the ensuing danger.

Hurriedly, Bronisława ran from the house with Bianka and Maria. She managed to reach an apartment on ul. Snopkowska, to her friends, the Dworski family.  The family took care of Bianka, but not for long. The Dworski family were already hiding two other people. For safety, Bianka had to leave that apartment. Hiding three people involved ”the problem of food ... three people needed more food and that would arouse the suspicion of neighbours”, wrote Bronisława Dymek after the War.

At that time, Franciszek Kolano was in hiding. The Germans were looking for him, so that the Dymek and Kolano homes were subjected to frequent searches. The Dymek family decided the evacuate the entire family from Lwów and move to Groble in the Nisko nad Sanem District - Franciszek Kolano’s birthplace. There, together with Bianka, they saw out the War. In 1946, she left for Sweden to be with her aunt, and then to the United States. After the War, Franciszek Kolano, who had successfully survived the War in hiding, joined the Dymek family.

On 19th June 1989, the Yad Vashem Institute honoured Bronisława and Franciszek Dymek and Katarzyna and Franciszek Kolano with the title of Righteous Among the Nations.

Bibliography

  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009
  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, 349 963