The Kobos Family

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Story of Rescue - The Kobos Family

Before the Second World War Miriam and Eliezer Cymlich were living in Falenica, where they were running a bakery. Israel was the youngest child in the family – he had 5 brothers and 3 sisters.

When the war broke out, Israel and his father started smuggling bread to Warsaw. On August 9th, 1940 two policemen stopped their wagon. They were sentenced to 6-8 years’ imprisonment. They were transported to the Mokotów prison. The 63-year-old father, beaten numerous times, was transferred to Wiśnicz, where he soon died. Israel fell seriously ill and was moved to the prison hospital for 9 months – later he was freed due to his bad condition. He spent a total of 20 months in prison.

On April 18th, 1942 he returned to Falenica and on August 20th, during the ghetto liquidation, the Nazis murdered his mother. His brother was assigned to work in a coal yard in Falenica. Israel was transported to the labor camp Treblinka I. When after a long illness he was assigned to building railway tracks – he took advantage of the opportunity to escape during the demolition of the ghetto in the nearby Kosów Lacki.

After a few weeks of hiding, he returned to Falenica to find his brothers. They were working in a wood yard in a camp for survivors from the Warsaw ghetto. One day before the liquidation of the camp his brothers – later shot together with all the others – found a hiding place for Israel. One of their co-prisoners contacted him with Zygmunt Kobos.

Cymlich reached the house of Janina and Zygmunt Kobos in Falenica in May 1943. At first, he was only supposed to spend a month in their attic. Because they were very poor, he supported them financially, but when he ran out of money – the Koboses let him stay for over a year. In May 1944 Mordechaj Frydman joined him in the shelter. While living at the house of the Koboses, Israel used to write a diary in which he described the camp Treblinka I in detail. In 1998 the Yad Vashem Institute published its translation into English – “Escaping hell in Treblinka” is one of the few Jewish accounts devoted to this camp.

Israel left his hiding place after the Soviet army entered in August 1944. After the war, he emigrated to Argentina together with his wife Lola Lotterstein and their daughter Miriam. He remained in contact with the Koboses until they died. They were honored with the title “Righteous Among the Nations” on the initiative of  Michelle Kirszner, granddaughter of the rescued.

Other Stories of Rescue in the Area

Bibliography

  • Ambasada Izraela, Materiały opracowane w związku z uroczystością wręczenia medalu i dyplomu honorowego "Sprawiedliwy wśród Narodów Świata" 22.10.2010 r., Warszawa