The Landowski Family

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Story of Rescue - The Landowski Family

Before the war, the Landowski family lived in Chojnice in the Pomerania region and it was there that they saw the beginning of the war. They were re-settled in the autumn of 1939 and ended up in Warsaw. Their financial situation worsened dramatically. In time, Józef found employment as a travelling salesman with “Minerał”.a lemonade production plant located at ul. Leszno 108, i.e. inside the Warsaw ghetto, itself created in 1940. Due to his job, he had a permanent pass for entering the ghetto and leaving it. He helped the people on the inside thanks to the pass by means of, among other things, smuggling food into the ghetto.

Landowski’s wife sometimes helped him with his work so she also had such a pass. It was in the ghetto that she came to know the Grabina family. After some time, their Jewish friends asked the Landowskis to look after their only daughter Chana.

Chana was taken to the “Aryan side” probably right before the great liquidation action which the Germans started in the Warsaw ghetto in the summer of 1942.

After the war, Landowski recalled: “They knew that they were all going to die and they begged my wife to save their daughter Hania. We talked this over with my wife and started closely monitoring the traffic at the borderlines of the ghetto. We found a hidden passage at a court building and planned things out. My wife then, risking her own life in the process, led Hania through. It was in 1942”.Soon afterwards, concerned about their own safety and the child’s safety, the Landowskis left Warsaw and moved to Sanok. The girl used an assumed Polish name – Hania – and pretended to be their foster daughter. She was not able to spend days on end in the house and her appearance quickly made neighbours suspicious. Fearing that they might start asking difficult questions which could lead to denunciation, the Landowskis decided to hide the child elsewhere.

She was transported from Sanok to a convent of Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth in Komańcza. She did not stay with the nuns long due to frequent inspections of the convent carried out by the Germans. She was taken from there to Angowice near Chojnice (in the Pomerania region), the place where the Landowskis hailed from. In Chojnice, she moved in with Agnieszka Górecka, Józef Landowski’s sister. Agnieszka was helped by her husband Piotr Górecki and daughter Jadwiga. Chana stayed with them under an assumed name, as the daughter of a Polish engineer - Paszkiewicz from Poznań. After the Górecki family was re-settled, she moved with them to Zalesie and then to Lubnia near Brusy.

She managed to survive the war. She kept in touch with Zofia and Józef Landowski. Agnieszka Górecka died in 1947. After the war, Józef Landowski stated: “I can say with a clear conscience that everything we did was done selflessly, out of moral considerations and due to Christian ethical principles, in order to save the life of a young person. We derived no financial benefits from the situation, quite to the contrary, actually”.

Other Stories of Rescue in the Area

Bibliography

  • Engelking Barbara, Leociak Jacek, Getto warszawskie. Przewodnik po nieistniejącym mieście, Warszawa 2001

    The publication carefully reconstructs the non-existent Jewish quarter in Warsaw. The authors put emphasis on the description of everyday life of the ghetto.

  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, Dział odznaczeń Yad Vashem. Dokumentacja sprawy Zofii i Józefa Landowskich, 349/24/2095