The Jurek Family

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Story of Rescue - The Jurek Family

In 1936, an unmarried Lwów girl, Julia Jurek, found work as a domestic and child carer in the home of the Cohen family, the middle-class owners of a domestic appliances shop on Serbska street. At the time, Icchak and Róża Cohen had two children – two year old Nava and nine year old Salomon (born 20/08/1927).

When, in September 1939, the Russians occupied Lwów, their shop was closed and they were forced to work in a factory. The German army entered the city on 29th June 1941. In the autumn, the family was resettled into the ghetto. When deportations of the Jews began, they hid in the workshop of friends, the Fridental family, while Nava and her friend Lusia Fridental would often spend the night at the home of Julia Jurek. During one akcja, the Nazis deported Szlomo. He ended up in a labour camp, most probably in Płaszów. Disguised as a Polish woman, Róża travelled there with Julia Jurek. Szlomo perished in 1943.

In February 1943, the Germans uncovered the hiding  place of the Cohen and Fridental families. Mr Fridental was shot on the spot. At the time of the arrests, Icchak was staying outside the ghetto. Those who remained ended up in prison where members of the Fridental family most probably perished. Nava and her mother miraculously avoided being shot at Piaska Janowska, a site of mass murders. For some unknown reason, the truck transporting them there was turned back. At Icchak’s request, his in-law Szul Szwarc managed to have them freed by bribing the guards. Both returned to the ghetto.

In the spring of 1943, Nava was smuggled into the ”Aryan side”. With a birth certificate arranged by her father (according to another story, by Julia Jurek), under the name of ”Helena Jurek”, she reached Przemyśl and came under the care of Józef Jurek, Julia’s brother. Shortly thereafter, fearing his neighbours, the man sent her to his sister where she remained until the end of the War.

When the ghetto was liquidated in June 1943, the Cohen family was sent to a labour camp at ul. Janowska 134. In November, when mass murders were being carried out,  they escaped to the home of their former domestic. The suspicions of neighbours forced them to leave the apartment. Julia moved Icchak into a hiding place in the yard, while Róża found work as a caregiver. However, the Ukrainian police discovered Cohen’s hiding place. Then, while under arrest, he attempted to commit suicide. Again, he found himself in the Janowski camp.

In May 1944, shortly before the Russians entered Lwów, the Germans transported the camp’s remaining Jews to Germany. Icchak escaped from that transport. All three survived the War which, in Lwów, ended in July 1944. In 1945, the Cohen family settled in Kraków and, four years later, they emigrated to Israel.  

The story has been posted thanks to Museum of Struggle and Martyrdom "Treblinka"... ...mjjj


  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu
  • Wirtualny Sztetl, Nava (Sheyndel) Ruda nee Cohen (born 1934) about her childhood...