The Janczarski Family

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Story of Rescue - The Janczarski Family

Before the War, Icchak Szmuel and Bejla (nee Lewkowicz) Kołatacz, together with their five children,  ran a grocery shop in the market square in Skała near Kraków. One of their clients was a forester, who stayed in Skała whenever he visited the forestry administration in  Ojcowa. In 1935, Janczarski purchased a property, containing a large stretch of forest called ”Romanówka”, in nearby Wysocice. There he began building a home and farm buildings. Before the War, his wife, Genowefa Marianna (nee Makowska), the daughter of a mill-owner in nearby Imbramowic, attended a high sschool in Olkusz where she had Jewish friends.

One of the Kołatacz sons, Aron, was murdered by the Germans at the very beginning of the occupation. Annother son, Motel (Mordechaj), perished in 1942. Probably, in August 1942, when the Jews of Skała were deported to Słomnik, and from there to the death camp in Bełżec, the Kołatacz family, together with their three remaining sons - Samuel, Adam and Eliezer, hid with the Korzonek family. Inspections and searches for hidden Jews became more frequent. In that situation, Mieczysław Korzonek took the Kołatacz family, by night, to the forester’s lodge in Wysocice, asking that  they be hidden for a few days. It was essential for them to find a new hiding-place. The Janczarski family hid the Kołatacz family for two years and three months.

The Janczarski family took in the Kołatacz family together with their three sons and placed them into a hiding-place under their roof. This hiding-place was built before the War in case the front should stop near Kraków. As Eugeniusz Janczarski recalls, it had a ”fox-hole” structure with several tunnels which would increase the chance of escape in the event of a search. Everyone in the family helped in hiding the Kołatacz family, even twelve year old Bogdan who removed the waste and took meals to the hiding place. The younger children, Eugeniusz and Roman, kept the secret knowing the danger involved in telling strangers that they were hiding a Jewish family.

Maria Pytel and Wojciech Kwiatkowski, displaced persons, were also accommodated in the forester’s lodge. Genowefa organised visits by the doctor from nearby Imbramowic, when of the Kołatacz sons became ill. In the final months before liberation, Masza (Marysia) joined the Kołatacz family. She had been hiding in Ojców. The people, who had been hiding her until then, took her to the Janczarski family hidden in a basket. Mojżesz (Mietek) Kamrat, who had been in hiding alone in the area following the death of his father, was also helped by the Kanczarski family. They gave him food, clothing and financial assistance.

In January 1945, after two years and three months, the Kołatacz family emerged from hidingów wyszła z ukrycia. Only then did the Janczarski family fill in th eunderground bunker.

In an interview for the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Eugeniusz Janczarski recalls, ”I helped him fillit in. We were glad to do it. We filled it in knowing that it would no longer be needed”. Roman Janczarski died in 1949. The Kołatacz family left for Germany and, from there, to Israel and Canada. Over many years, they remained in contact with the Janczarski family. Mojżesz Kamrat also found them and remained in close contact with the Janczarski family, inviting Genowefa to Jerusalem.

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Bibliography

  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009
  • Justyna Kutrzeba, Interview with Eugeniusz Janczarski, 25.08.2010
  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, 349, 1879