The Mironiuk Family

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Story of Rescue - The Mironiuk Family

Józef Mironiuk has got an eye for detail. He witnessed the Podlasie Jews being forced to smash tombstones (matzevot) taken from a cemetery and used to repair roads. Those who refused were shot on the spot. A Jewish acquaintance told Józef, “If anything happens, you’ll know where I’m buried.”

Mironiuk spent the war in his home village of Jakówki. In 1941, after a severe beating at the hands of German military, Józef’s father died, making Józef the sole provider for his mother and six siblings. In 1943, his uncle Mikołaj Iwaniuk, asked him to shelter fugitives from the liquidated ghetto in Biała Podlaska.

Wolf Englender and the Goldszeft siblings came from Janów. They were first hidden in a remote barn, but were discovered by a neighbour. Afraid of the consequences, Mironiuk asked his Home Army colleagues for help.

“They hung the neighbour over a fence, slapped him a bit: ‘What d’you want from Mironiuk? You know he’s with the Home Army. Don’t go there. You won’t know, you won’t be afraid. If anything happens to Mironiuk or his family, you’re to blame.’ And they settled it.”

The other hideout was built in a tool shed. This time, a neighbour’s dogs sensed something. The third, and final hideout was built inside a cowshed. When the Germans conducted a search, Józef threw manure by the entrance, so that their dogs wouldn’t smell the humans inside.

Mironiuk regrets that when he tried to enroll the fugitives into the Home Army’s partisan group, the Home Army’s soldiers refused.

“They were my colleagues, friends. ‘We have no guns and you want to give some to the Jews?’”

After the war, instructed by his Home Army’s superiors,hesought a safe haven from the Security Office by enrolling in the army, and he served until his retirement. The rescued fugitives initially returned to Janów, and later emigrated abroad. Perla, Motel and Szloma Goldszeft to the US, and Wolf Englender to Argentina.

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Bibliography

  • Maślak Magdalena, Interview with Józef Mironiuk, 1.06.2008
  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009