The Matuszczyk Family

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Story of Rescue - The Matuszczyk Family

Honorata Mucha lived her entire life in Bronów (Świętokrzyskie Region). The three brothers Federman:Josek, Chaim and Pinkas, came to her house from Dzieduszyce, late in 1943. They asked for shelter. The winter was very harsh. During the day the village was patrolled by the Gestapo, and during the night - by a group of partisans, whom Honorata Mucha refers to as “the nationalists”, and who were possibly from the National Armed Forces (NSZ) - and also hostile towards Jews. The Matuszczyks only knew the Federmans by sight. They hid the brothers in the barn and covered the hideout with clothes, topped with hay. The brothers only left the hideout at night, to stretch their legs and get a breath of fresh air. Their hosts brought them food twice a day, walking through the yard and pretending to carry a bucket to the pigsty or a basket to pick vegetables.

“We had to hide the cooking, ‘cause neighbours were walking to and we were scared. An’ after all, if [they’d seen] the big pots on the stove, they weren’t stupid …”Honorata Mucha explains.

Nevertheless, someone suspected something; maybe they saw something. The Matuszczyks were denounced and the Germans came to search the barn. When they ordered Honorata’s father to dig through the hay, he told the soldiers: “If there’re Jews here, I get the first bullet.” They didn’t find anyone.

Immediately after the war the Federmans left Poland. Honorata Mucha felt sad that they hadn’t shown her family any gratitude, and that they didn’t even attempt to contact them. Several years ago the house in Bronów was visited by Chaim’s daughter and her husband, Rifka and Menachem Daum. They were making a movie about their journey to Poland, retracing the steps of their ancestors.

“They came unannounced, in the evening. I saw, ‘cause I was out on the road, and I saw that they were afraid to come in. I told them to come into the yard. All of a sudden, when they told me who they were, my legs started shaking, because I had always been told that they were killed for [hiding] Jews, and now here they were.”

Bibliography

  • Rajkowski Jacek, Interview with Honorata Mucha, 2.03.2009