The Papierkowski Family

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Story of Rescue - The Papierkowski Family

Emil and Leokadia Papierkowski lived in Bydgoszcz together with their three children: Jerzy, Zbigniew, and Janina. Emil was a middle school teacher, and Leokadia was a homemaker. With the outbreak of World War II, they moved to Komorów near Warsaw, where their cousins had lived. The Papierkowskis settled in a villa that belonged to an elderly and lonely woman. They spent the entire war in Komorów. In 1939, German soldiers arrested Emil, but, fortunately, they released him shortly after.

In November 1939, the Papierkowskis’ oldest son, Jerzy, brought home two Jews – Icchak Rosenblat and Chana Majzner. They were over 40 years old, and introduced themselves as siblings. Before the war, Rosenblat had owned a textile factory in Łódź. The Papierkowskis decided to help them and give them shelter. At that time, Emil had worked as a secretary in the municipal office, which allowed him to officially register the Jews and issue them false papers. From then on, Icchak and Chana lived with the Papierkowskis as Stanisław and Loda Wambach.  

Stanisław managed to find employment in Warsaw. He worked as a custodian in a factory, and he gave the money he earned to the Papierkowskis to cover living expenses. Loda helped Leokadia in housework and in the garden. All household members lived as one family; they ate meals together, and spent time together.

None of the neighbors knew that Papierkowskis were helping Jews. The family avoided socializing. The commune head was the only person who became suspicious. He did not, however, initialize any activities that would disclose those in hiding. Stanisław and Loda lived with the Papierkowskis until the liberation. Zbigniew, the Papierkowskis’ younger son, recalled after many years, “I think it was a good thing that at least two people have survived.”

After the war, it turned out that those in hiding were not siblings, but a couple. They got married in December 1945. They went to Łódź, and later to Paris, and in 1949 they settled in Israel. The Papierkowskis returned to Bydgoszcz. The two families stayed in letter contact after the war. 

Members of the Papierkowski  family received the titles “Righteous among the Nations” in 1985 for providing help to Jews. In 1986, Janina Zdunek nee Papierkowska visited the Rosenblat family in Israel.

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