The Kopec Family

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Story of Rescue - The Kopec Family

Sowina is a small locality in the Podkarpacie [Lower Carpathia] province. Anna Kopeć spent her entire adult life there, and lived there during World War II. Anna and her husband, Stanisław Kopeć, earned a living from farming. During the war, Stanisław took part in the defense of Lwów. He managed to escape from a transport, which was probably destined for Katyń.

In 1942, the Kopećs neighbor, a Jewish man by the name of Joachim Krueger, had asked Stanisław for help. He needed shelter for himself, his wife, and their seven children. The Kopeć family decided to help the Kruegers without hesitation. Joachim and his son moved into the Kopećs’ small apartment. His oldest daughter, Hanna, had frequented the apartment, and his younger daughters also came there. Anna Kopeć recollects [their names]: “The small ones were [called] Tymcia, Etusia, and Gienia. There was also Salcia and Marysia.”

After a while, someone had informed the Germans that there were Jews at the Kopećs. Fortunately, a Pole who was sent to check on them did not denounce them. On another occasion, a German soldier came to their home. Anna Kopeć was very frightened; she began to treat him to the pudding that she had just made. The German did not inform on them, and – what is more – he became friendly with Anna and came to her to get milk, among other things.

Anna gave birth to two children during the war. Despite their bad financial situation, the Kopećs shared anything they had with the Kruegers. When the Kopećs moved for a week to the nearby forest in fear of resettlements, the Kruegers hid together with them.

Thanks to the help provided by the Kopećs and other residents of nearby houses, the Kruegers were able to survive the war. Unfortunately, Joachim, his wife and their only son, were murdered in their own home immediately after the war, in 1945. Till this day, Anna Kopeć does not know who had committed the crime. The Kruegers’ daughters left for the United States after the war.  

For a long time Anna Kopeć did not have contact with the saved Jewish women. Only after several years did the Kruegers’ cousin make contact with Anna. In 2002, Anna Kopeć and her granddaughter went to the United States to meet with the Kruegers’ daughters and their families.

Anna and Stanisław Kopeć were awarded the “Righteous among the Nations” medal for the help they provided to the Krueger family during the war.