The Miklaszewski Family

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Story of Rescue - The Miklaszewski Family

Jacenty Miklaszewski, his wife Maria and daughter Władysława, lived in Brody in, what is today, the Ukraine. He was a violin teacher, a member of the local orchestra which was founded by his friend, Kalman Harnik.

Kalman Harnik was born in Zaleszczyki. In 1934, he married Elsa (nee Kahana), a teacher at a Jewish girls’ school, where Kalman led the choir. Their only daughter Israela, was born in 1938.

Following the outbreak of World War II, Brody found itself under Russian occupation. But, in June 1941, the German army entered the small town. In that same year, in a nearby forest, the Nazis had already assembled, through trickery, the local intellectual elite and then butchered them. Among them was Elsa Harnik. Israela remained under the care of her father who, by sheer chance, had escaped the same fate as his wife.

A ghetto was established in Brody in January 1943. The situation became more dramatic by the day. Kalman decided to accept his friend’s proposal and separate himself from his daughter. As ”Ewa”, Jacenty’s orphaned niece, Israela came under the care of the Miklaszewski family. Kalman found a hiding place in a bunker in a neighbouring village. Israela did not look Jewish and she had learned the Catholic prayers so that, for a certain time, no suspicions were aroused. However, she was still unable to leave the Miklaszewski home.

Shortly, one of the neighbours guessed the girl’s origins and began visiting unannounced. Israela spent the nights under the bed. At the same time, threatening letters arrived. As it later turned out, these had been sent my Jacenty’s own mother and sister. Israela was moved to acquaintances where she helped care for a baby. She then returned to the Miklaszewski family where, disguised as a peasant, she grazed the cows. After a few months, the whole family moved to Kraków where they remained until the end of the War.

In 1948, Israela, together with her father who had served in the Red Army and had survived the War, left for Israel. She had maintained contact with the Miklaszewski. She is sculptor. 

See the art of Israela Hargil. 

Bibliography

  • Wirtualny Sztetl, Israela Hargil about her parents before war...
  • Berenstein Tatiana, Shmuel Krakowski red., Israel Gutman red. serii, The Encyclopedia of the Righteous Among the Nations. Rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust, Poland, Jerusalem 2004
    The two-volume publication contains short biographies of Poles awarded the Righteous among the Nations medals.