Filipek Katarzyna

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Story of Rescue - Filipek Katarzyna

Katarzyna Filipek was a widow who lived with her seven children in Tokarnia - a village in the district of Myślenice.She had no education and did not work. After her husband’s death, she farmed a small field for the needs of herself and her children. The material situation of the family was very difficult.

The Szternlichts - a Jewish family, lived in the neighbourhood.They ran a grocery store in a nearby village of Krzczonów, so they were known in the local community. Katarzyna knew them as well.

In August 1942, Germans deported the last group of Jews from Krzczonów.The Szternlicht family managed to escape and, for some time, hid in nearby forests. When they came to Katarzyna Filipek’s place, she gave them shelter without hesitation. She took six people to her place: Szmul Szternlicht, his daughter Adela (about 35 years old) with her husband and their 10-year old son and his second daughter Róża (about 33 years old) with a 7-year old son. Gizella Hudes, Szmul Szternlicht’s first daughter who was in the German camp of Gross Rosen and survived the war, recollected: “Mrs Katarzyna Filipek sheltered my family in her place and provided them with food. My family consisted of 6 people, that is, my father, two sisters, my brother-in-law and two nephews.”

Katarzyna arranged a hiding place for them in the attic, took care of them and gave them food.The daughter, who applied to the Yad Vashem Institute for awarding her, reported that she took no money for hiding the Jews. It cannot be excluded, however, that, taking into account the material situation of Filipkowa, the Szternlicht family paid for their food.

In January 1944, someone reported to the Gestapo that Katarzyna Filipek was sheltering Jews.The Germans burst into her house and found the Jews. The farm was burnt, whilst the six Jews were shot on the spot. Katarzyna Filipek was arrested and sent most probably to Nowy Targ. She was sentenced to death for hiding Jews. She was executed in March 1944. The seven children of Katarzyna Filipek did not experience any persecution, they all survived the war.

Bibliography

  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009
  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, 349, 674