The Matlak Family

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Story of Rescue - The Matlak Family

“In June 1943 Hania Gross was taken out of the Sosnowiec ghetto by my mom, Ludwika, and my grandfather’s sister” - recollects Ludwika’s daughter. First they were supposed to transport Hania and then come back for her parents. They did not make it. The Grosses were taken to Auschwitz. Hania was 9; she was placed at my grandmother Józefa’s house in Przeciszów near Oświęcim, supposedly the child of some relatives, coming in for the summer holidays.”

“Mom said the most scary part was crossing the border between the Reich and the General Government – since late 1939 Sosnowiec was part of the Reich.”

Hania was living a normal life, playing with other children, attending church – not in hiding at all. It was decided she would move to a different place after the holidays. The hideout was to be prepared by  Magda, an acquaintance of the Grosses. This plan, however, did not work out. When the holidays were over and Hania did not leave, the neighbors started to show unusual interest. “Mother said there was a Volksdeutsch in the village. They were afraid they might get denounced. Fortunately, no one did.”

After the liberation, in late January 1945, grandmother Józefa died of tuberculosis – there was no penicillin. Hania was taken to a Jewish orphanage by Magda. Leter we received a letter from Hania’s mother, from Sweden. She had survived. She was taken from Auschwitz to Ravensbrück, and then to Sweden for treatment. Hania’s father had been killed. One other distant relative also managed to survive.

“Hania is living in Sweden and we’re in close contact with her entire family.”

Bibliography

  • Ostrowska Joanna, Interview with family of Ludwika Molenda, 1.01.2008
  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009