The Grzesiuk Family

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Story of Rescue - The Grzesiuk Family

Adela Dąbska's relation

Adela recounts that before the war, her family had many Jewish neighbors. When a Jewish ghetto was founded in Chełm, at the beginning of the war, Nazi authorities sent some people to work there, while others were killed or taken to the death camp in Sobibór. Jews from Belgium, Holland and France could also be found in the Chełm ghetto. These people were also eventually killed in Sobibór.

In the Summer of 1942, Adela’s parents Feliks and Aniela hid their acquaintance Rachela Gipsz and her two children: Bencjon Drutin and Jakub, in their cellar. They stayed in this hideout for about three years. Since a Volksdeutch family was living in the neighborhood, German officials often visited the Grzesiuks, but fortunately, no-one ever discovered the Jews. Rachela and her children left their hiding place after the Red Army liberated Chełm.

After the war, Adela’s mother was afraid that the neighbors would accuse her of having accepted money for hiding the Jews, so until 2001, the family avoided talking about what had happened. When the war ended, Rachela Gipsz moved to Wałbrzych, but kept in touch with Adela’s family. Thanks to Rachela’s son Jakub the Grzesiuk family received the medal “The Righteous Among the Nations.”

Jan Dąbski's relation

Jan Dąbski was born in 1953 in Chełm. He is the son of Antoni and Adela.

Jan recounts that during the war, his mother Adela and her parents were involved in hiding Regina Gipsz (after the war Drutin) and her two sons. The three Jews were hidden in the cellar and in the attic. Jan stresses that, although a son of the “Righteous”, being born in 1953, he knew nothing about his family’s war-time activities for a very long time. After the war, his mother was very reluctant to share her memories. Only in the 80’s did their contacts with the Drutin family intensify and now Mrs. Drutin’s sons phone the Dąbskis very often. Benek, one of the brothers, came to Chełm a few years ago. This was a very moving moment both for him and Adela.

Bencjon Drutin's letter

Bencjon writes about the beginning of 1943, when the Grzesiuk family found out that Germans were preparing to round-up all those in the ghetto. They decided to escape and his mother and he and his brothers survived, yet his father, who was hiding somewhere else did not make it. Mr. Drutin relates the Grzesiuk family’s history: Feliks, his wife and children, after the First World War moved from just outside Moscow to Chełm. Before that, Feliks had been a soldier in the Soviet Army. When the Gipsz family was staying with them, the eldest daughter helped them the most. Mr. Drutin adds that the Grzesiuks were very poor a family at that time, but still helped the hidden Jews all that they could.

Mr. Drutin also adds that around 20 Jews from Chełm survived the war, and that the majority of these cooperated with Gestapo. The Germans did not have enough time to kill them all in the end.

The relation was recorded in the framework of the project "Lights In The Darkness - The Righteous Among The Nations", courtesy of the "Ośrodek Brama Grodzka - Teatr NN" in Lublin

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Bibliography

  • Dąbrowska Anna red., Światła w ciemności. Sprawiedliwi wśród Narodów Świata. Relacje, Lublin 2008
  • Czajkowski Tomasz, Interview with Adela Dąbska and her son Jan Dąbski, 1.01.2007