The Jagiełło Family

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Story of Rescue - The Jagiełło Family

Before the outbreak of the Second World War the Jagiełło family, living in the village of Chrościna (Płońsk county, at present Mazowieckie province), was in close contact with a few Jewish families from the nearby Płońsk. Every autumn the Jagiełłos used to lease a part of their orchard to them so they would collect the fruits. After her husband died in 1940, Stefania Jagiełło née Krysicka was still running a farm with her teenage son Ludomir.

In his memoirs Ludomir Jagiełło describes the circumstances in which he first met Izydor Legal. It was still in the Płońsk ghetto that Legal was introduced to him by his cousin Abram Kon – a tailor from a Jewish family who was friends with the Jagiełłos. However, according to the account and interview he has given to the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, the Jagiełłos did not know Legal earlier and at first he did not reveal his Jewish descent.

Legal used to visit the Jagiełłos since the beginning of 1942, slipping out of the Płońsk ghetto, closed in May 1941. In the nearby villages he would ask for food for himself and for his family: his wife and two daughters. Ludomir did not refuse to help him, although he knew the man had escaped from the ghetto.

In November or December 1942 Legal asked Jagiełło for shelter. His closest family had been killed during the liquidation of the Płońsk ghetto, which was carried out from November 1st to November 5th, 1942. The Jagiełłos took him in, driven by compassion for a man with whom Ludomir had already become friends. What’s more, Ludomir hoped that thanks to his act of kindness he would in some way help his brother Ryszard, who was in Soviet captivity.

In his interview for the Museum of the History of Polish Jews he explained: “I couldn’t refuse because my brother, (…) was in Soviet captivity. (…) maybe someone would give him a helping hand”. A hiding place was prepared for Izydor in the farmyard. The Jagiełłos used to bring him food, changes of underwear and German newspapers. Even after the visit of German policemen, who were unsuccessfully searching for the Jew hidden in the farmyard and threatening the farmers – the Jagiełłos remained firm in their resolution to help Izydor survive until the end of the war. Izydor was hiding at the Jagiełłos until January 1945 when Ludomir helped him get his documents and took him to the train to Płońsk. According to the account of Ludomir, Izydor returned to his hometown Lipno and remained in contact with his family.

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Bibliography

  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009
  • Michał Zaidlewicz, Interview with Ludomir Jagiełło, 5.11.2010
  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, 349, 588