The Kostka Family

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Story of Rescue - The Kostka Family

The Kostka family lived in the village of Mochrzyna-Żabno (Tarnowski County) and ran an agricultural holding. They had a number of Jewish acquaintances among people living in the village.

In the early autumn of 1942, the Kostka family gave shelter to a young Jewish woman – Miriam Pikholc (later Rajner). Before the war, she lived in Bielsk. At the end of 1941, she was transported to the Kraków Ghetto. She managed to escape and reached Dąbrowa Górnicza, where she worked as a maid. After some time, her employers discovered she was Jewish and fired her. Then, Ignacy Kostka, her former co-worker, decided to help her.

Ignacy offered Miriam a hiding spot in his house. The woman lived in the Kostka household for a couple of months, until the beginning of 1943. Maria Bąba, Ignacy and Józefa's daughter, said after the war: “My parents were poor, but they were also very religious and they did not think of any financial benefits, but rather believed that it was their Christian and human responsibility to help and support those in need, regardless of their nationality or creed. We were all very afraid, because two of their daughters had died and all they had left was me.”

At first, Miriam covered the expenses for food. Nonetheless, the Kostka family did not stop helping her when she ran out of money. Miriam was fully dependent on them. When Józefa Kostka was called up for work in Germany, she gave her spot to Miriam. With fake documents, she went to work in the Third Reich. The Kostka family still sent her letters and food packages.

After Miriam left, the Kostka family contacted their friend from Dąbrowa Tarnowska, Franiciszek Borsa. He also provided aid for Jews. When he found out about a possible inspection of his house, he sent several people he had been hiding to the Kostka household. For a couple of days, they gave shelter to the Werker couple and to Ewa Arymowicz. As described by Maria Bąba: “The last Jews came to our house in the summer of 1944, but they were there for a very short time, /I don't remember their names/, because German military police organised a quarter in our courtyard, so we were unable to bring them food and one night, they ran away.”

Miriam Pikholc worked in Germany until the end of the war and later moved to Israel. She still kept in touch with the Kostka family. Maria Bąba exchanged letters with the rescued living in Israel and Canada.

Bibliography

  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009
  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, Dział Odznaczeń Yad Vashem. Dokumentacja sprawy Józefy i Ignacego Kostki oraz Marii Bąba, 349/24/2173