The Grocholski Family

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Story of Rescue - The Grocholski Family

Before the war, Józef Grocholski lived in Kopyczyńce in the Tarnopol Province with his wife Olga and a son Franek (born in 1934). Their house was located at the edge of the town, away from other farms. Olga, when she was young, she was a servant of a wealthy Jewish family - Leon (Leib Baruch) Hirsch and his wife Malka (nee Badian), where she got acquainted with Jewish habits. Before getting married, she received a dowry from her employers. Józef, on the other hand, was a friend of Pinchas Fuks, with whom he attended school and football matches.

In autumn 1943, Pinchas asked Józef for help. By that time, Fuks had been hiding in the forest and had been sheltered by an Ukrainian who robbed him and threw him out. He was in danger of being given away to Germans.

Grocholski agreed to shelter Pinchas, his cousin Edka Fuks and an elderly woman named Sznajder. A special hiding place was arranged for them: a dugout in the orchard which seemed to be used for storing potatoes only.  Franek, the Grocholskis’ son, supplied food to the shelter and took a bucket with waste away. Franek also brought them papers which they read at oil lamps.  Józef bought food for his family and for the Jews he hid on the market in Kopyczyńce, telling the sellers that he was buying more food to avoid the necessity to visit the town too often. When Pinchas’s legs got frostbitten in winter, Józef gave him a down quilt.  The Jews used to leave their hiding place at night only.

They remained there until the spring of the year 1944, when Kopiczyńce was liberated by the Red Army. At that time, the Grocholskis’ daughter, Helena, was born. The Pinchas’s family: the father Motie, the mother Chaja and the siblings – his brother Ulo with his wife Tonka (nee Fest), as well as the brothers: Lorenc and Leibic (?) – died.

Józef’s brother - Stanisław Grocholski (whose wife was Olga’s sister), also sheltered Jews in his house:  Jakub and Edward Werner, Ignacy and Nastka Halpert, Ignacy Chutys, Surka Sznajder and Rifka Gurtman.

After the war, the Grocholskis left their home village. As repatriates, they were settled down in the village of Przemków (the district of Szprotawa), where they ran a farm and three other children were born to them: Janka (born 1946), Teresa (born 1949) and Bronek (born 1954).

Pinchas Fuks went to live in Wałbrzych. He left Poland with his wife Nettie Hirsch, Leon’s (Olga’s employer before the war) daughter, sheltered in Kopiczyńce by Stefan Kunicki on the top floor of a barn, and went to live in the camp of DP in Wegscheid, in the American occupational zone in Austria. Their daughter Klara (Claire) was born to them there in 1947. After that, they emigrated to Canada and settled down in Winnipeg, where Pinchas changed the name to Paul Fox. After the war, Edka Fuks went to Israel, where she got married and gave birth to a daughter - Alyssa.

The Fuks family kept in touch with the Grocholskis, sending letters, money and parcels, also with medicines. They also sent a wedding gown for Helena, the Grocholskis’ daughter. In 2010, Claire Hoffer, the daughter of Pinchas Fuks, came to Poland and Ukraine. In 2013 she came again to meet with the Grocholski family.

In 1970, Stefan Grocholski made a deposition for the Commission to Investigate the Nazi Crimes in Zielona Góra. His deposition was passed to the Yad Vashem Institute a dozen years later.  In 1987, the Institute granted Józef and Olga Grocholski the title of Righteous Among the Nations. In the same year, the title of Righteous was also granted to Stanisław, Józef’s brother, and his wife Anna.

Bibliography

  • Archiwum Yad Vashem, 3655.1