The Jopek Family

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Story of Rescue - The Jopek Family

In the summer of 1942, Skalbmierz near Kielce was announced “a city free of Jews.” The twenty-year-old Rachela Just fled to Krakow with her parents and siblings. Most of the Just family moved into a place on the outskirts of the city, but Rachela rented a room in the centre of town, in a flat belonging to Michalina Jopek and her adult daughter, Krystyna Kajfasz.

In the beginning, Rachela paid the agreed upon rent. However, when she ran out of money, she admitted to her true identity. The mother and daughter gave her permission to stay with them, free of charge. For nearly three years they supported Rachela, treating her like a member of the family. They shared their food with her, though at times this meant that there wasn’t enough for them. Thanks to Michalina and Krystyna’s help, Rachela survived. She did not leave her asylum with them until January of 1945. After the war, she immigrated to Belgium and maintained warm relations with the women who saved her life.

On December 30, 1993, the Yad Vashem Institute declared Michalina Jopek and Krystyna Kajfasz Righteous Among the Nations.

 

Bibliography

  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, 349, 1839
  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009