The Jedlina Family

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Story of Rescue - The Jedlina Family

At the time of the outbreak of World War II, Modesta Jedlina, her mother, 3 brothers and a sister were living together in the village of Okrzeja located in Łuków County.The whole family made a living by running the household.The village was inhabited by many Jews, but the majority of them were deported either to Treblinka extermination camp or to forced labor camps in fall 1942.The rest of the Jews hid in nearby woods. 

In May 1943, then 15-year-old Modesta met in the forest 24-year-old Chaim Baranek – a gaiter repairer and a fugitive from the forced labor camp in Wola Okrzejska. He asked her for help.Initially, the girl provided the Jew and his friends – runaways from the camp – with food which she would bring to his dugout in the forest without her family’s knowledge.After some time, though, Modesta decided to confide in her mother and tell her about the fugitive. As a result, with her mother’s consent, Chaim could move to Modesta’s house.He was treated as though he was a real member of the family. Everybody called him Heniek.Whenever any visitors came to the household, Chaim hid behind the stove or in the storeroom.  All his relatives lost their lives in the Holocaust.

Until the time of liberation, nobody but the closest family knew about Chaim hiding in the Jedlinas’ house, although those inhabitants who belonged to the underground movement suspected the family of helping the Jews.

In 1945, Modesta converted to Judaism and married Chaim.They settled in Łódź; in 1956, they emigrated to Israel with their 3 children.Chaim died in 1971.On 24 February 1988, the Yad Vashem Institute awarded Modesta Baranek-Jedlina and her parents – Marianna and Jan – the honorary titles of Righteous Among the Nations.  In 1989, Modesta received honorary citizenship of Tel Aviv.