The Kazak Family

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Story of Rescue - The Kazak Family

The Kazak family lived  in Brzóza Królewska in the Leżajsk district, and for some time they hid the four children of their neighbour, Pinkas Wachs, at their house. Later the father took the children to the ghetto. In 1942, Chana Stiller from Leżajsk came to the Kazaks’ house, and asked Sebastian for shelter. A bed was prepared for her in the corner of the cowshed.          

“She would spend the nights there.” Józefa, the Kazaks’ daughter recalls: “She spent most of the day in the shed. She came to the house in the evenings and we gave her food.”

In late December 1942, two Jewish men around 30 years old came to the Kazak farmstead. They were in need of help. They came there, because they knew they would be accepted at the house, as they were acquaintances of Chana Stiller. They did not stay on a permanent basis, but came for a night or two from time to time.

On March 23rd, 1943, a group consisting of Germans, two Blue Policemen from Leżajsk, and a Ukrainian from Giedlarowa came to the Kazaks’ house. They found the three Jews in hiding. The Kazaks and the fugitives were shot.

“I heard shots coming from our house. Machine gun shots,” Józefa recalls years later.

The Kazaks’ two daughters survived, because Agnieszka was working in the fields at the time, and Józefa managed to escape.

They hid in the countryside with some distant relatives, and later in the woods and local villages. They eventually made their way to Kraków, where they applied to the Employment Agency and were taken to work in Austria. They returned home in the autumn of 1945.

Bibliography

  • Chrzczonowicz Magdalena, Interview with Józefa Siuzdak, 11.06.2009