The Hutnik Family

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Story of Rescue - The Hutnik Family

Before the Second World War, Józef did not know the Jews whom his family hid in a trench dug near their farmyeard house. The Hutnik family ran a farm in Łanowicze near pod Borszczów in the Podole region (now Ukraine).

From what Józef remembers, there were four Jews - a watchmaker from Borszczów with his wife and Sara and Mosze Rozemberg, a couple from nearby Zaleszczyki. They were brought by a relative of his father named Czubak. According to Józef, Mosze was a dentist.

[In the „Na rubieży” magazine, 24/1997, page 33, Ludwik Mijał writes that Sara and Mosze Rozemberg of Zaleszczyki hid with the Hutnik family together with their sons: Roze (a jeweller) and Szime (a dentist) and not with the watchmaker and his wife – editor].  

It was at end of spring or the early summer of 1942, as Józef remembers because, a few weeks earlier, some bandits had murdered his sister.

For almost two years, the Rozembergs lived in an underground hiding place next to the Hutnik’s house. Only at the start did they dare to emerge and move to the attic where it was dry and warm and where they could see the light of day.

When, in 1943, hidden Jews were being hunted, they remained in their underground bunker. The Hutnik’s feared their neighbors where were Germans and Ukrainian nationalists. Over a certain time, several German soldiers also stayed in their house. Hiding the Jews at that time was particularly dangerous.

Józef Hutnik remembers the Rozemberg’s as inteligent and affable people. Perhaps, they would have remained friends to this day had they survived the War. When, for several weeks in March 1944, Borszczów found itself in the hands of the attacking Soviet army, Roze decided to leave the town.

As luck would have it that, at the very same time, the Germans attacked from the east, occupied the town and Roze found himself trapped. UPA (Ukrainian) soldiers in the area caught him. They forced him to disclose the hiding place near the Hutnik home where they then murdered, not only the Rozemberg’s, but also Władysław Hutnik.

The murder of his father and of the Jews was observed  Józef hidden in a manure heap. ”In the morning, I looked around. My father lay here – they lay further away  and there I saw violin strings shining (…) My mother came from the basement and saw them. Then my uncle came, cried and took the family to town. He ran away – he was frightened.”

Bibliography

  • Ludwik Mijał, Eksterminacja ludności polskiej w powiecie borszczowskim w latach 1939 – 1945 część 5, Na Rubierzy, nr 24
  • Kaczmarek Olga, Interview with Mieczysław Hutnik, 11.04.2008
  • Kaczmarek Olga, Interview with Józef Hutnik, 10.04.2008