The Matacz Family

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Story of Rescue - The Matacz Family

Ewa and Wiktor Feldstein lived in Warsaw along with Wiktor’s son, Staś. Ewa worked as a nurse. She came from the village of Nowa Mysz  near Baranowicze (today’s Belarus). In November 1942, according to the German order, the Feldsteins moved to Zielna Street in the ghetto. In June 1942, their son Stefan was born.

The family managed to avoid the fate of most of the ghetto’s residents during the liquidation action of July 1942. In March 1943, shortly before the outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the Feldsteins decided to escape to the “Aryan” side. They wanted to hide, procure visas, and leave to the United States.

Ewa, with little Stefan in her arms, managed to leave the ghetto. Wiktor and Stasia remained in the ghetto with an aim to make arrangements for their planned journey. Ewa possessed the so-called “good look” and false papers. She stayed at an apartment in the Czarny Potok village near Krakow. However, she did not have enough money to support herself and her child. Desperate, she decided to return to the ghetto. The situation in Warsaw was dramatic following the fall of the uprising. Her return thus proved impossible. She also realized that her documents were stolen on her way to Warsaw. 

Ewa began to seek help on the “Aryan” side. She resolved to find Stefan Matacz, the brother  of Kazimiera Lisicka, a teacher from her home village of Nowa Mysz. At one point, Kazimiera assured Ewa she could turn to Stefan in case of any problems. Ewa found him in Praga; he was a Polish blue policeman. He lived with his wife Marianna and daughter Halina. Without hesitation, Stefan invited Ewa to his house, and introduced her to his guests as the wife of a Polish officer.

Stefan’s younger brother Mieczysław, a member of the Home Army and Ewa’s friend from school, was also involved in providing help. Within a few days, he obtained false documents for Ewa.

Due to the risk of denunciation and searches, to which anyone helping Jews was prone, Ewa and little Stefan had to often change their places of residence. The involvement of other members of the Matacz family in the rescue of the mother and her child was indispensible. Shortly, the woman and the child were transferred to Grzybowski Square, to an apartment of the Matacz’s cousin. Then, they were taken to Łuków, where they stayed at the house of Tadeusz, one of the three of the Matacz brothers, and Helena, senior of the family. Before the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising, Marianna (the wife of Stefan Matacz) took her daughter Halina, Ewa and the child to the Baniocha village. Halina would babysit for Stefan very often. There, in a tavern house, where the Home Army kept their weapons, both the child and the mother awaited the war’s end.

Despite harsh conditions and numerous dramatic situations in the ghetto and outside of it, Ewa had always exhibited courage and confidence. She tried not to show fear, and responded to possible suspicions about her Jewish origin with feigned indignation.

After the war, Ewa and little Stefan went to the United States. Her husband’s, Wiktor’s and Stasia’s fate is not fully known. Most likely they went to Hotel Polski [Polish Hotel], and later died in Auschwitz. During the entire postwar period, Ewa stayed in touch with the Matacz family, sending them packages every year. She visited them a few times; for the first time in 1983. In August 2012, members of the Matacz family were awarded the “Righteous among the Nations” medals.

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