The Ksiazek family

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Story of Rescue - The Ksiazek family

In the middle of the war, Jewish people appeared in the village of Komodzonka-Budy, not far from Frampol in the Lublin region. A carpenter, Aron, and two women Rywka Kestenbaum with her daughter Szangle, came to seek refuge with Janina and Kazimierz Książek. The Książek family house was made of wood and had an annexed barn with a well-hidden shelter. Szangle and Rywka both stayed there, whereas their guardian Aron hid in the woods along with other Jews. “Mum made some food”, as Marianna Sirko, daughter of the Książek couple recounts, “spread out a plain sheet on the Ŗoor, and put some food in bowls. They ate, warmed up and went away. But before that, Dad went out and checked if there was anybody around the house”.

The Książek family managed to keep their secret until early 1944. “One day in the morning, news broke out that there is a raid on Jews”, recalls Marianna. “My Dad together with Aron made their escape, and we, the girls, stayed with Mum”. The assailants, an armed group of Poles, pillaged the house and dragged Janina outside. Her daughters Ŗed to the neighbours. “They interrogated Mum in the yard”, recounts Marianna, “but to the end she would not reveal anything, she defied them, risking her own life”.

The villains pretended to retreat but two of them stayed behind and hid in the barn where they heard the two Jewish women talk. They went out to bring in the jittery Janina: “Come here! You were hiding them! You haven’t told on them but they gave themselves away”. “They ordered the two women to undress [...] and say their prayers. And they did pray, they knew their prayers well. Then the monsters beat them, blood splashing on the ground, especially the older one’s. Then, they ordered them to put on their clothes”, relates Marianna. “It was in the evening when my sister and I wanted to go home. Some passers-by were walking down the road and told us: ‘The Jewish women are dead, they are lying in the woods by the fir trees’”.