The Mika Family

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Story of Rescue - The Mika Family

For the Mika family, the Tider family were simply neighbors – both families lived in Zaborów, a village near Kraków. Until World War II, their contact comprised mainly of favors common as between neigbors. Paweł Mika was a farmer, while Tider was a tailor.

During the War, in 1940, the Jewish Tider family ended up in the Brzesk ghetto. The tailor’s two daughters, Maria and Anna, escaped using false papers. The parents and son, Chaim – who had earlier organized the false papers for his sisters - perished. The oldest of the Tider children, Mendel, remained alone.

In 1943, after spending around two years in the Brzesk and Bochnia ghettoes, Mendel managed to escape. His friend, Józef Langdorf, accompanied him in his escape. The men reached the Tider family village and asked Paweł Mika for help.

The famer hid them in the stable attic amongst the straw. In the winter of 1943, they were forced to leave their hiding place for a few months when German soldiers were billetted with the Mika family. After they left, Mendel and Józef returned and remained with the Mika’s until the end of the War – here in January 1945.

The Mika family rescued both men, as neighbors, simply because they were people in need. There was no especially close relationship between them. They were scared but Stefan, Paweł Mika’s son, considers that someone who lives in constant fear, in the end, becomes used to it – especially as how, at that time, death was the penalty for so many things...

”[Hiding Jews] was an immense responsibility, but [then] everything that one did carried with it a possible death sentence. People came from places closer to the city, they brought with them linen for bedding or for clothing or for something else. In exchange, they took sausages from the village after someone had killed a pig or something, they carried them away for which there was a possible death penalty (…) Becoming used to it (…) somehow eases the fear and the sense of responsibility”,says Stefan Mika.

Both hidden men survived the War. Mendel emigrated to the USA and did not remain in contact with the Mika family. Józef and his wife lived inKraków. They maintained close relations with the Mika’s, especially with Stefan.

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Bibliography

  • Kacprzyk Marta, Interview with Stefan Mika, 16.05.2009
  • Archiwum Zydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, 349, 1858
  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009