The Jedrzejko Family

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Story of Rescue - The Jedrzejko Family

Józef Golicz lived in the center of small Kresy (a part of Poland which was later incorporated into Ukraine and Belarus) village Jelechowice in Złoczów county. We do not know since when the three sisters: Estera and Ida Wirtenberg, Klara Zimand and their stepmother, whose last name is unknown, had found shelter in his house. At some point Józef Golicz realized that it wasn’t a safe place anymore.

In March 1943 he took the women to his friends’ place, the Jędrzejko family, whose house was situated at the outskirts of the village. The mother and the girls were supposed to stay there for only one night. After a long talk Leonia and Jan Jędrzejko decided to take them in for a longer time. The women spent 18 months with the family. The couple put them up in the attic of their stable and helped them to construct a little hiding place behind a fake wall made of clay and straw. The women moved freely in the attic but when there was a threat of danger, they would hide behind the fake wall.

In May or June of 1943, Klara asked the couple if they could also help her husband Markus who was imprisoned at the work camp in Złoczów.  Leonia delivered Markus a letter with the plan of escape. He managed to join his wife and the rest of the women.

Leonia Jędrzejko recalls: ”I would always give them food in a pot hidden in a bucket. And as I walked across the backyard I would pretend that I was carrying grain for the chickens. Then I would go into the stable and leave the food at the attic. The same way I would collect the feces in the evening or at night and dispose it at the manure heap.”

The Jews stayed with the Jędrzejekos till the summer of 1944, when the Soviet army entered Złoczów. At the turn of the year 1944-1945, the rescued moved to Gliwice and then to Wałbrzych. After a few years the Zimands settled in Israel and the Wirtenberg sisters in the United States.