The Kiwior Family

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Story of Rescue - The Kiwior Family

Since the time she was born, Genowefa Kiwior had been living in Adamierz (30 km from Tarnów). Orphaned when her mother died before World War II, she and her four siblings lost also the father when the war started. His death was the result of a chronic ear infection. Together with her two brothers she remained alone in the family household. Next door neighbors were her sister Zofia and her husband Józef. Genowefa would come with frequent visits to her sister, but she knew nothing about the fact that since the beginning of 1944 they had been hiding two escapees from the ghetto of Tarnów: Celina Holzer and Hesiek Buch. It was not until the spring of 1944, when Zofia was killed during a bombing raid, that Józef, Genowefa’s future husband, told her about the secret. After his persuasions, she agreed to hide the Jews in her place.

Celina and Hesiek were hiding in the attic. Genowefa reminisces: “We used bundles of hey to make something like a small apartment for them in the attic so that they were warm. And I gave them a quilt and a pillow.” Just like for other family members, Genowefa also for them cooked and did the laundry.

Only at night, the new housemates would go downstairs and talk. They did not help on the farm; it was a small village and the neighbors often paid visits to one another. Despite being careful, when she was taking a casual walk during the day, Cesia was recognized by her former neighbor from Tarnów. The boy was paying a visit to her aunt who asked about Cesia: “When she told me this, I thought I would die. I was so scared,” Genowefa recounts. She lied that they were some strangers who were looking for a place to spend a night.

In spite of great fear, the Kiwiors kept Cesia and Hesiek in hiding until the war was over. Genowefa does not explain her motives. She stresses that the German atrocity appalled her: “What did these people do to them, how many of them, of the Jews, were killed, like some birds or something.”

Following the war, Hesiek opened a tailor’s workshop in Tarnów. He helped Genowefa’s family by giving them some fabric for clothes. After having moved to Israel, he stayed in touch also through his sons, who paid a few visits to Genowefa. Soon after the war, Cesia went to the Great Britain where she assumed a married name Morley.

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Bibliography

  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, 349, 2197
  • Maślak Magdalena, Interview with Genowefa Kiwior, 25.03.2009