The Lesinski Family

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Story of Rescue - The Lesinski Family

The house, old and inconspicuous, used to stand in Ostrówek, near Masovia’s Łochów.

“This is where the Treblinka railroad used to run, there was the road, the barracks with the Soviet prisoners, the factory - describes Czesława. - We lived in the middle. Mom used to cover the windows so we wouldn’t see the prisoners eating each other, or the Jews who escaped off the train being executed. When my brother would catch anything in the house, he’d give it to the hungry, he got neurosis because of that.”

She was 10 or 11, her brother was two years her senior. “Look - he once told her - Mom’s carrying sand.” He found her to be secretly digging a basement under the house.

First came Cyla Knobel with her six-year old son Bolek. Soon after, Cyla’s sister – Rózia, and later Mietek – Cyla’s husband. Part of a room was separated with a wall, with entrance via a small door hidden by the wardrobe in the grandmother’s room. Grandmother was lying in bed, ridden with cancer. One time, when the Germans came in, she got up and had a hemorrhage, scaring them away.

She recalls that the Knobels “had it hard, real hard. They couldn’t go outside. And we would constantly have Germans coming in, because the parents were selling meat. And there was this neighbor, who’d go on with: ‘They’re keeping Jews, them.’ But Mom was amazing, she went and threw a party.”

The Jews had gone to the attic and the Germans were invited in. They drank, liked it very much at the house, and would sometimes pop in later and buy a fat goose or some milk.

„Daddy later said: ‘You know, I didn’t think we’d manage to keep them.’”

“They write - she says - they call, they invite me to visit. Only Bolek is left now, though.”

Bibliography

  • Szymczak Agnieszka, Interview with Czesława Rusiecka, 1.01.2008
  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009