The Muszynski Family

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Story of Rescue - The Muszynski Family

In May of 1939 she was 17 years old, attending the local high school in Olkusz. Olkusz became integrated into the Reich and renamed Ilkenau. The Nazi began hunting down Jews.

She met her friend Rela in primary school, they lived on the same street, visited each others’ homes. It was through Rela that she met Tobiasz Zilberszac, Rela’s fiancé, and his brothers.

Their father ran a large electrical shop in Olkusz. At the beginning of 1940, the Germans took over Jewish businesses, bringing in Aryan managers (treuhänder). Rela then asked her if she would accept the position of manager of the Zilberszac’s shop. “In accepting the position - she tells us - alongside my friendship with Rela, I was also motivated by the indignation I felt toward the German occupants who stole and brutally terrorized them.”

Additionally, legal work protected her from being sent to Germany for forced labor.

“It was a very large store. I was to be the treuhänder, meaning loyal to the Germans, but the whole time I was working for the benefit of the Jews. I considered them to be the owners and that I had to help them. I hired them in the shop, which for a time protected them from being sent away to the camps. They also slept there, in the shop, illegally, which allowed them not to have to return to the ghetto.”

Both she and her mother also helped other neighboring Jews and their families. They organized illegal border crossings, brought supply packages to camps.

“Right after the war I was honored in a very special way. In my honor Rela and Tobiasz named their daughter Maria.”

Her warm friendship with the Zilberszac family, currently living in Vienna, continues.