Kuryluk Karol

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Story of Rescue - Kuryluk Karol

Karol Kuryluk was born in Zbaraż into a family with many children. His father was a bricklayer. Karol earned a degree in Polish literature at Jan Kazimierz University in Lviv.  During his student years in the 1930’s, the university was the site of frequent anti-Semitic incidents incited by the National Democracy and National Radical Camp parties. Meanwhile, the university administration instated the policy of the bench ghetto in classrooms. In lecture, Karol would stand against the wall in an act of protest, thereby demonstrating his solidarity with Jewish students. He was also active in Halina Górska’s Blue Organization („Związek Błękitnych”), using radio broadcasts to mobilize Lviv youth around issues of homelessnes and poverty. Between 1933-1939 he published „Sygnały” (“Signals Magazine”; initially together with the poet Tadeusz Hollender), a monthly socio-literary journal devoted to Polish, Jewish, and Ukrainian issues.

After the Nazis took control of Lviv in June of 1941, Kuryluk joined Polish Workers’ Party (he oversaw the radio station and underground press) and the Home Army. He was a member of the Lviv Delegation of the Polish Government in Exile’s and collaborated with the Council to Aid Jews “Żegota”. Among other things, he took care of obtaining „Aryan papers”, as well as relaying messages for Jews in hiding and delivering money to them. Among the people for whom he produced false documents were Lidia Damm and her mother Natalia. Lidia, who was ultimately orphaned by her mother, survived the war thanks to the assistance of other Righteous ones - Edwarda and Eufrozy Trzeciaków.

Beginning in 1942, Kuryluk hid Peppa Frauenglas and her two sons, Józef and Marian, beneath the bed in his sublet room on Miączyński Street (now, Parfenewiczów Street) in Lviv. He knew the family from Zbaraż: he and the sons had attended the same secondary school.In the evenings, Karol would go out to visit neighbors so that the Frauenglases could come out from under the bed to eat and wash up.

 In what was most likely the spring of 1942, Kuryluk came across an escapee from the Lviv ghetto, in Stryjski Park.  „On a nearby bench, he spotted a young woman with a stony look on her face – the sort of look worn only by people who are headed for death, people for whom there is no longer any way out. (…) Without really even thinking about it, Kuryluk took this complete stranger home with him. He hid her there through the remainder of the occupation.” [Książka dla Karola, Warszawa 1983, s. 79]. The woman was Miriam Kohany. For the rest of the war, Karol provided assistance to both her and her first husband, Teddy Gleich.

After the war, the Frauenglases emigrated to Israel. Meanwhile, in 1945, Miriam Kohany married Karol Kuryluk. She never spoke about her wartime experiences. The couple’s daughter Ewa – an artist and writer – reconnected with the Frauenglases while at work on an autobiographical novel. It was for his assistance to this family that Karol Kuryluk received the honor of the Righteous Among the Nations medal from Yad Vashem.

Just before his death, Karol Kuryluk took over as director of the Polskie Wydawnictwo Naukowe (PWN) publishing house. In September of 1967, he published a volume of the Great PWN Encyclopedia in which the term „camp” was divided into two entries: „concentration camp” and „extermination camp” – the latter of which was described as intended only for Jews. By this point in time, Poland had already broken off diplomatic relations with Israel, and the Communist authorities were gearing up for a Party-internal feud. Karol and all of PWN fell victim to political persecution. It was a fitting prelude to the anti-Semitic events of March of 1968, during which nearly all Polish citizens of Jewish descent left the country. 

Bibliography

  • Leśna rodzina pośród "Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata"
  • Koźniewski Kazimierz, Książka dla Karola, Warszawa 1983
  • Mazur Grzegorz, Życie polityczne polskiego Lwowa 1918-1939, Kraków 2007
  • Kuryluk Ewa, Frascati. Apoteza topografii, Kraków 2009
  • Kuryluk Ewa, Goldi. Apoteza zwierzaczkowatości, Warszawa 2004
  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, 349, 2577