The Nowak Family

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Story of Rescue - The Nowak Family

Ludwik and Aniela Nowak, a married couple, lived in Cracow before the outbreak of World War Two.The Webers, a Jewish couple, also came from Cracow. Both families knew each other and were friends.

In March 1941, all Cracow Jews were forced to move to a newly-created ghetto in the Podgórze district.The Webers and their little son Jan were placed in the ghetto as well. Probably in 1942, the boy's parents who feared for the future of the Jewish community that was closed in a small area of the ghetto decided to seek a shelter for the boy on the so-called Aryan side of Cracow. In order to arrange this, Karolina Weber contacted the Nowaks.

"The boy was transported outside the ghetto walls in a suitcase and driven to a location that was pre-arranged with us. We took care of him as if he were our own son for a month or maybe longer. At that time survival was more important than the length of hiding. There was no possibility to hide him any longer because Germans, a doctor and a dentist, lived and saw their patients in the building at 57 Starowiślna Street. Military servicemen came for treatment and we were afraid that they could discover the boy's presence by chance. At that time we were a childless couple aged about 30 and a child could arouse suspicion," Aniela Nowak reported after the war.

In agreement with the boy's mother, the Nowaks found a new family for Jan Weber where he could be safer. Aniela Nowak recalled: "Our help was selfless as we had been very close with Mr and Mrs Weber. [...] We treated little Jan as our own son.He very much liked my husband and often said that his name was Jan Nowak."

The boy survived the war. His father died during the occupation.His mother, Karolina Weber, survived the war and moved to Belgium. Her son stayed with her for some time and later emigrated to England. He continued to exchange letters with the Nowaks.


  • Biberstein A., Zagłada Żydów w Krakowie, Kraków 2001
  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009
  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, 349, 1947