The Nowak Family

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Story of Rescue - The Nowak Family

The Nowak family of Zawiercie were an ordinary Polish family, trying to survive the hardships of World War II. There were six of them – four adults and two children. The tenement in which they lived fell inside the ghetto boundary in 1940 and the Nowak’s were forced to move.

They moved into a building opposite, next to the ghetto boundary. Near their apartment was a locksmith’s workshop in which worked Sztajkeler, a Jew from the ghetto. One day, he turned to the Nowak’s for help to escape the ghetto and to hide his very young son, Fryderyk called Fryc. The Nowak’s agreed: their daughter, herself only a little older than Fryc, helped the boy reach the tenement. His father was to arrange for him to be hidden elsewhere.

Shortly afterwards, the Nazis decided to liquidate the ghetto. It was January 1943. The locksmith Sztajnkeler, at first valued by the Germans as a skilled tradesman, survived only a few more months at most and was unable to further assist his son. Little Fryc remained alone.

Even though the Nowak’s did not earlier intend to hide the Jewish child, they could not however allow the child to perish. They took him into their care and looked after him until the end of the War, treating him like a member of their own family.Due to a lack of employment and money Genowefa Nowak was forced into the decision of giving up the child to an orphanage. She never forgot about him and, over many years, attempted to locate him.

They met again after fifty years. After that Fryderyk (now Efraim) remained in close contact with the members of the Nowak family.

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Bibliography

  • Czyżewska Anna, Interview with Rozalia Włodarczyk, 22.09.2009
  • Czyżewska Anna, Interview with Wiesława Kostrzewa, 22.06.2009
  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, 349, 2379
  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009