Leszczynska Sabina

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Story of Rescue - Leszczynska Sabina

Fragments of a post-war account by Sabina Leszczyńska:

“My husband left after midnight and went to the market. An hour later my mother woke me up saying that something was crying outside. I told her it must be cats meowing. After a while, she came up again saying there was a child outside. We were afraid to go out, we lived in a village amid the fields, with no electric lights. Yet, we did go outside, lighting our way with a kerosene lamp. A child was lying on the ground by our door. When we warmed the little boy up and fed him, we found a note under his frock that said, ‘Dear Christians, the child is Polish, he is seven months old, drinks milk from a spoon, his mother has been taken to Germany, please christen him and bring him up.’”

The mayor of Rożki village ordered a doctor to give a decision on the child’s nationality. The doctor said that it was Polish.

“I took the child and went to the church. The mayor’s daughter and the doctor came, and the child was baptized. After the ceremony, the mayor organized a party at his house. He took the child in his hands and said: ‘Let’s put the past behind us, we’ve christened a Jew, let him live, he will be a fine man.’”

It was in 1942. The baptized Zygmunt’s parents, Ryfka and Mendel Wajc, and their four-year-old son Jankiel, were in hiding in a nearby forest, as they were Jewish. Mendel was a tailor and served the partisans with his skills. When his other child was born, they told him to get out. A crying baby meant an even greater menace. Then, they decided to drop the boy by the house of the Leszczyński couple who were childless.

 Mendel stayed after the war in Maciejów. He was eventually shot dead by the Poles, probably in 1946. Ryfka left for Israel, where she was later joined by her son Jankiel, but never stopped looking for her younger son.

 He was also looked for by Sabina Lesczyńska, who had lost contact with Zygmunt when he was taken away from her by a Jewish organization to a Łódź orphanage, and then adopted by a married couple from Warsaw. His new parents avoided looking back to the past. Both women found him in 1989. Sabina stayed in touch with him until her death.

Bibliography

  • Kozłowska Hanna, Interview with Zygmunt Hofman, rescued by Sabina Leszczyńska, 19.06.2009
  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009