The Kaszuba Family

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Story of Rescue - The Kaszuba Family

Antonina and Stanisław Kaszub, together with their children, Stefan, Daniela and Ryszard, lived in the village of Żydówek, in the Pińczowski district of the Świętokrzyski Province. They did not have a farm. They supported themselves from Stefan’s disability pension which was the result of wounds which he sustained in the Polish-Soviet war in 1920. The family derived an additional income from alcohol and cigarette retail concessions. Kaszub shared one of the concessions with a aprtner from nearby Chmielnik – Natan Dawid Schor (Schorr). The Schor family found themselves in the ghetto which was estblished within the small town in April 1941. In the beginning, the getto was open but, in December 1941, it was closed off.

In the autumn of 1942, turned to Stanisław asking for help to save his family. It was probably at the beginning of October 1942, after the first liquidation operations in the Chmielnik ghetto – 6th October 1942, when the Germans, with the help of Ukrainian auxiliaries, deported around 8,000 Jews to Treblinka. Stanisław Kaszuba agreed to help. In an interview for the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, his son, Stefan, recalls, ”Schor was my father’s friend. (…)  I knew him well. He was an extremely accommodating man, He pleaded with my father”.

Szor and his three older daughters: Krajndel Zilberberg with her husband and children, sixteen year old Hana Towa and fourteen year old Bracha  left the hiding-place with the Kaszub family. The Kaszub family hid Natan’s wife, Alta Riwka (nee Rotter) as well as their fifth youngest child, a daughter Sara as well as their sons Abraham, Nachum, Fajwel, Nachum and Motel. Shortly after, Szor’s brother-in-law, Lejb (Leon) Kozłowski and his fiance Miriam, joined those in hiding.

Without their neighbours’ knowledge, the Kaszub family hid two Jewish families in a separate room. In times of direct danger, the eight hidden would go into an underground shelter by removing floorboards. The warning signal would be two knocks on the wall.

In th elast months of occupation, the Germans took over the room under which the Jews were hiding and used it for storage. As a result, the Jews being sheltered by the Kaszub family became prisoners. So Stanisław had to dig a tunnel in order to free them. They then managed to shelter in a barn where they managed to survive until January 1945.

All those who were hidden survived the War. After the Soviet Army arrived, they returned to their family home in Chmielnik. Alta Szor’s numberous siblings and their families, her husband, Natan Szor, and their eldest daughters, most probably perished in the second and final liquidation operation in Chmielnik on 5th November in Treblinka. After the War, Leon and Miriam (Maria) Kozłowski settled in Chorzów. The Szor family, however, left for Canada.

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Bibliography

  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009
  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, 349, 1723
  • Justyna Kutrzeba, Interview with Stefan Kaszuba, 26.08.2010