Story of Rescue - Karpiuk Maria
Shaul Leib Soroka, son of Mordechai Joseph and Tzivia Soroka, together with his wife Miriam Bluma nee Goldman and their four children, lived in Włodawa before the war. He ran a small shop where he sold, produced and repaired horse-riding saddles and harnesses. This was how he got to know many local farmers. One of them was Maria Karpiuk, a widow in her fifties at that time who lived with her three children – Paweł, Stefan and Zofia – in the village of Motwica, Włodawa area.
In January 1940, the Nazi Germans opened the Włodawa ghetto. The Sorokas moved there, but tried to go on with their normal life. Since May 1942, the Germans were gradually liquidating the ghetto, but the Sorokas managed to survive subsequent raids. At the end of September 1942, they were warned of another planned deportation from Włodawa. They ran away from the ghetto to hide in the forest, and then left for Adampol where Mr Soroka started working for a German entrepreneur named Selinger, among other activities. There were anti-Jewish round-ups in Adampol too, and the Sorokas' children were nearly shot dead during one of them. The Sorokas stayed in Adampol until March 1943. After they left the town, they came back to the Włodawa area where they initially found a place with a farmer named Midlick. The family paid a considerable sum of money for being able to hide in his barn. As this significantly improved his material situation, the Sorokas started fearing that neighbours may become suspicious and denounce the farmer to the Germans for hiding Jews. They left the shelter in September 1943.
For the next half-year, they were hiding with Filip Władczuk's family. Mr Soroka helped him out before the war when he got seriously ill after being released from prison. Władczuk and his family dug a large hole in the barn and carefully camouflaged it. The Sorokas stayed in their shelter all the time, and Filip's family brought them food. The Jewish family paid for their food.
To let some light in, Soroka made a small window in one of the walls, covered with firewood in the winter. One day, when Mr Soroka prayed by this window in spring, we was spotted by one of the neighbours. Władczuk managed to scare him off, but the Jews started fearing denunciation from suspicious neighbours. Filip Władczuk's family was also terrified, so the Sorokas had to leave their shelter.
At that difficult moment, with no place to hide and little financial resources left, Maria Karpiuk came to their rescue. Having consulted her children, she decided to offer them help. Shaul Leib, his wife Miriam Bluma and their four children: Peasch, Breindele, Motel and Esther stayed with her from March to August 1944. Soroka recalled after the war that she was known for being friendly towards Jews and provided selfless aid. She used to say that if she was to survive the war, so were they.
She did not stop helping them even after the Nazi Germans search her house. She arranged a temporary shelter for Breindele, the eldest daughter of the Sorokas, with her sister in a neighbouring village.
Miriam Bluma Soroka, who was a very religious person at that time, recalled after the war that she celebrated Pesach while staying with Maria Karpiuk in the shelter. For this reason, she refused to eat the food brought by Mrs Karpiuk and her children since they added bread to every meal. This deteriorated her health, but she managed to recover. The family made it until the end of the war.
After the occupation, the Sorokas returned to Włodawa where they had two more children: Michla (born in December 1945) and Berl (born in August 1948). However, they did not stay in Poland for long and at the end of the 1940s left for Canada through Germany. They kept in touch with Maria Karpiuk and her children. Pesach Soroka visited them years later with his own children.
- Archiwum Yad Vashem, M.31.2/10546