The Iwaniuk Family

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Story of Rescue - The Iwaniuk Family

"It was awful!", she said. "Every day, it was awful.”

Later, when she visited them in the United States, Noah told her this story.

“Your father came to our hiding place and said, ‘Go now, because my daughters are crying. They're frightened that they'll killus. We can’t live like this.’ And I began crying, everybody began to cry. ‘If we leave, they will kill us.’ And your father took his cap off, made the sign of the cross and said, ‘Then let it be God’s will, and if they kill you, they will kill us too.’”

For twenty two months, six Jews hid on a small farm in the village of Romanów in the Lubelskie region, hiding under hay, under branches, in the woods, in a dugout in the barn. Franciszka made them nourishing pea and bean soup, carrying it in pot to them in the hideout.

“Once, an acquaintance came to visit us in the evening. We were sitting with mother. She was lying in bed, paralysed. He comes up with a gun and asks, ‘Do you know why I have come? To shoot you.’ We started crying. Father didn’t reply. My sister approached him and said, ‘Kazik, are you going to shoot me?, she asked. 'Are you going to kill me?’ He didn’t answer. And he almost started crying too. ‘No, I won’t kill you', he said. 'Better that they kill me, I’m just one.’ We kneeled down. He had been ordered to kill us for hiding Jews.”

And Perla also recalled when she went to the priest in Janów. She got down on her knees, “Glory be to Jesus Christ”, she said. She kissed his hand, but he pulled her up by her collar and yelled, “Leave, child, leave, because they will kill me!” And she was just asking that he allow her to stay until evening. “No, go, leave!” And so she went out into ul. Brzeska and someone yelled, “Jude! Jude!” She began running. They chased her. She made it to the barn across some swamps. And in this way, saved one more day of her life.”

“That’s why", says Franciszka, "I don’t even want to remember it.”

English editor: Andrew Rajcher

Bibliography

  • Biczysko Julia, Interview with Franciszka Olesiejuk, 1.04.2008
  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009