The Florek Family

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Story of Rescue - The Florek Family

Maria Florek and her five siblings were raised in Lubartów. Her father was a policeman, her mother was a housewife. Having graduated primary school, she joined her sister in Kraków. There, she married Bronisław Florek in 1940 and the young couple moved to Florek’s house.

From the very beginning of the war, Maria Florek was helping her acquaintances, the Goldberger family. When they were placed in the ghetto, she was providing them with food, as the official ratios for Jews were far from sufficient.

One night Witold Goldberger, having escaped from the ghetto, came to the Floreks’ house. He was hiding there from the fall of 1941 until the spring of 1942. Far safety reasons “Wicek” never left the house during that time, and whenever guests would come in, he would hide in the hallway.

When the Floreks began to suspect one of their neighbors was intending to denounce them for harboring a Jew, Witold had to find another hideout. Bronisław Florek took him to the Tyniec Benedictine abbey. Goldberger was hiding there until the end of the war, working as a gardener’s assistant. His ethnicity was only revealed to the prior of the abbey and to Fr. Kazimierz, a friend of the Floreks, who arranged a forged kennkarte for Witold in the name “Florkowski.”

The Florek family were also helping Franciszka Goldberger, the niece of Franciszka Nichtberger. Born in Kraków before the war, she left to study agriculture in Lviv. In 1941 the Germans placed her in a labor camp. She escaped in 1943 and managed to reach the Floreks.

Maria arranged a hideout for her with the Sołtysik family in the village of Wrząsowice. They agreed to shelter Franciszka in exchange for monetary compensation. Maria paid them with her own money, and once a month came from Kraków bringing food, clothes, and money for the girl.

When the Kraków ghetto was liquidated in March 1943, the Germans took Franciszka and Adolf Nichtberger and Mila Goldberger to work in the Mielec aircraft factory. Following the liquidation of the factory, the Nazis sent Franciszka to the Gross-Rosen camp and Adolf was transported to Mauthausen. It was probably around that time that Mila Goldberger died; the exact circumstances of her death are unknown.

After the war

Franciszka and Adolf Nichtberger, survivors of the death camps, settled in Kraków and lived there until they left for Israel in 1951. Maria Florek visited them in 1964, staying there for three months. Their contacts lasted until the Nichtbergers’ deaths in the 1970s.

The Rescued Witold Goldberger also settled in Kraków. He died in 1975.

After the war Franciszka Goldberger left for Genoa, and later for Israel. She married Eliezer Schomron; they had three children: Jael, Alona and Boac. She worked as an agronomist in a kibbutz. She died in May 2008. Maria remains in touch with her children.

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Bibliography

  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, 349, 1552
  • Dybała Anna, Interview with Maria Florek, 4.04.2009
  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009