Mrs. Zofia Patyra – Szemro has always lived in Kamionka near Chełm. Her father had died before the war, so her mother, Maria Patyra, had to look after her four children and work on their farm.
The Righteous recounts how her family helped a group of Jews to survive. These were: Jankiel, Nojch and Rajchel, members of the Manasz and Gritzman families.
During the occupation Zofia's family hid them in a bunker and in cellars. Sometimes the Jews stayed overnight in the barn. When the neighbors found out that they sheltered Jews, the Jewish families ran away to the forest for fear of being turned in. Sometimes they would come back to fetch something to eat. The Nazis, alerted by these neighbors, came, placed Zofia and her whole family by a wall, trained a machine gun upon them and started searching the house. They did not find anybody. In Mrs. Patyra's opinion, her brother saved the family, because he was handicapped and needed crutches to walk. He stood in front of the machine gun and probably the Nazis felt sympathy for the family.
All the persons who hid there survived the war. They went to Chełm, then to Israel, but they wrote letters. The younger sister of Zofia Patyra-Szemro visited them in Israel. Zofia Patyra-Szemro and other members of the Patyra family received the medal “The Righteous Among the Nations” in 1987.
The relation was recorded in the framework of the project "Lights In The Darkness - The Righteous Among The Nations", courtesy of the "Ośrodek Brama Grodzka - Teatr NN" in Lublin