The Paslawski Family

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Story of Rescue - The Paslawski Family

Franciszek Pasławski, born in 1922, lived with his parents and younger siblings in the village of Dobrowody near Buczacz situated in Tarnopol province. His family belonged to neighborhood nobility. The village was inhabited by many Jews. However, the situation in Buczacz, where Pasławski attended gymnasium (a junior high school), was quite different. One of his Jewish friends was Bina Salzman. The girl’s aunt, Regina Zuhler, taught the German language in the school.

After the last liquidation action conducted in the ghetto of Buczacz in June 1943, Regina Zuhler and her sister Mina Salzman with daughter Bina hid at the local peasants’ houses for many months. When the Red Army marched into this territory on March 23, 1944, the fugitives, like many other Jews, stopped hiding and left their shelters. However, a successful German counterattack put their lives in jeopardy once again. Together with other women, they were to be deported to a labor camp on the territory of the Third Reich.

Fearing recognition, they escaped from the transport at the station of Monasterzysko and made their way towards Dobrowody, as one of the women remembered her friend living there. Franciszek introduced the fugitives to his family as acquaintances from Buczacz that had lost their homes as a result of warfare. He used the same explanation in his conversations with neighbors. The women did not possess any documents. They began to wear the clothes typical of peasants so as not to distinguish themselves from other inhabitants.

In this way they lived safely in the village until July 1944. It was Pasławski’s parents that took care of them – the man himself, as a Home Army soldier, had to leave the area in fear of losing his life at the hands of Ukrainians. He made it to Kielce province and joined the Home Army forces. Before his departure, he confided to his parents the true identities of his friends.

In his interview for the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Franciszek Pasławski tells about the protection provided for another Jewish family from Cracow. In 1942, the family, equipped with the “Aryan papers”, found employment in the estate where Franciszek worked himself. He received this order from the Home Army detachment to which he belonged.

After the war, Franciszek Pasławski passed his “matura” exam and graduated from the faculty of architecture in Gdańsk, where he worked at the reconstruction of the city. Since the 1990s, he lives in Canada for half a year, and the second half he spends in Poland. Soon after the war, Regina Zuhler, Mina and Bina Salzman left the territories that had been incorporated into the USSR. First they lived in Cracow, where they met Franciszek Pasławski by chance. Then they emigrated to Israel. The Rescuer and the Survivors lost contact with each other until the mid-1960s, when the rescued women got in touch with the Pole again. Pasławski visited the Jewish survivors in Israel in the middle of the 1970s.

Bibliography

  • Pothuizen Charlotte, Interview with Franciszek Pasławski, 21.07.2010
  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009