The Kwiatek Family

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Story of Rescue - The Kwiatek Family

When Aleksander Allerhand returned to Kraków after escaping from a transport to the Bełżec death camp, he went immediately to Ryszard Kwiatek’s home. Friends of the Allerhands since before the war, Ryszard Kwiatek and his parents Maria and Franciszek had already done much to help the family.

They had managed to make contact with the Mr. Allerhand, in the POW camp, and had informed him of the family’s situation, and had sent him regular parcels. When his wife was forced to liquidate her fabric shop in Kraków, they helped her hide the goods, which were later sold to provide income for her and her children. Ryszard and his parents continued to offer assistance after Mrs. Allerhand and her children were sent into the ghetto. Franciszek Kwiatek worked on the railways and had learned about the fate of the Jewish transports leaving the ghettos. He had warned the Allerhands not to believe that the Jews were being sent for resettlement and labour in the Ukraine, but rather that they were being sent directly to the death camps.

When Aleksander arrived at Ryszard’s house, the family fed him and gave him a bed for the night. But it was impossible for them to allow him to stay longer; their house was on the same street where the Allerhands had lived before the war, and the risk that he might be recognised by the neighbours was too great. So Aleksander left, took his sisters [Anna and Róża] from where they were hiding in the village of Mogiła, and moved together with them back into the ghetto.

Soon after their return to the ghetto, Aleksander was transferred to the barracks of the sub-camp where he had been working, leaving the girls alone in the ghetto. He remained in contact with the Kwiatek family, and whenever he was able to he visited them in their apartment where he would be fed and could find a place to rest.

From the exhibition Polish Heroes: Those Who Rescued Jews, curated by the Auschwitz Jewish Center, the Galicia Jewish Museum, and the Polish/American/Jewish Alliance for Youth Action (PAJA).