The Gosk Family

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Story of Rescue - The Gosk Family

The Gosk family lived in the village of Nowe Wyrzyki near Łomża. After the outbrak of the War, Wyrzyki found itself under Soviet occupation. Józef Gosk’s wife and daughter were transported to Siberia from where they never returned. He, however, unded up in gaol in Mińsk, from where he had escaped after the Germans had entered. At the same time, Mieczysław Gosk married Helena Rzodkiewicz from the village of Stara Łomża. The young pair took over the family farm.

On 1st November 1942, Nachman Szarfman appeared at the Gosk farm. Hidden in the pigsty, he was discovered by Helena Gosk. He asked her to call her father-in-law. Before the War, Szarfman livd in the neighbouring village of Wygoda where he ran a shop. Józef Gosk and he knew each other, as they had done business together and their children had attended the same locla schools.

Helena Gosk remembers the day when, as she was feeding the pigs in the pigsty, she saw Nachman Szarfman, ”He said ‘Call Gosk, we’re friends’. So I go and said, ‘Father is coming’ After maybe a couple of days later, they came. (…) After a couple of days they came and searched. They sat. And later, they dug up the whole pigsty. They put down boards and dug a hole again. And my husband made some kind of small doors which could be opened and closed”.

In all, the Gosk family hid Nachman Szarfman, his daughter Bracha, his son-in-law Icchak Szutowicz and grandchild Chaja, as well as his son Juda Szarfman and his wife Cyla Lewińska and two children, daughter Chana and son Hersz. Josef Kwiatek from the village of Puchały also hid with the Gosk family. After the the Germans entered Zambrów, they ended up in the ghetto from which they escaped during its liquidation. For a time, they hid in the forest and later sought shelter with the Gosk family.

Those who survived described their time in hiding thus, ”We were hidden in the pigstybyliśmy ukryci w chlewie. Gosk gug a hole in the pigsty where we could and coverd it with manure on which the pigs would walk. We would leave the hiding-place for a few minutes at night in order to answer the call of nature. Apart from that, we sat hidden there the whole time”.

The Gosk family hid the Szarfman family untill September 1944, until the Soviet Army entered the Łomży area. Mieczysław Gosk described the day that they parted thus, ”(…) the SS comes by (…) and order that in half an hour we have to leave the farmhouse and the property. We didn’t know what to do, they was not much time to think I went to them and said, ‘What were we to make of the fact that the Germans are expelling us. The front was somewhere near Białystok, near Narwi, and would be here within a day’. They listened and said, ‘We’ll do this.’ So I brought food and clothing for the journey and those people left the pigsty. At the top there were little doors through which they emerged one by one and I helped them down to the ground. Even though it was fairly high up, I couldn’t use the ladder as two SS-men were standing near our cart in which they used to take us to the camp. They ran away in the other direction and that was how we parted”. 

As the end of the War, the Gosk family returned to their farm. The Szarfman family remained in Zambrów and then moved to Lódż in order to finally emigrate to Israel. They were in constant contact with the Gosk family. In 1964 Mieczysław Gosk travelled to Israel where he planted an olive tree in Yad Vashem. To this day, the Szarfman children and grandchildren visit the Gosk family.

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Bibliography

  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, 301, 5935
  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, 301, 5812
  • Anna Czyżewska, Interview with Helena Gosk, 15.10.2010
  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009