Pasterkiewicz Jozef

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Story of Rescue - Pasterkiewicz Jozef

“As soon as they [the Nazis] had stripped the Jews of their property, they surrounded Dukla. They gathered them in the park, and then transported them to the forest. There was a pit dugin the forest, a horrible grave,. A huge hollow.  They shot them there,” says Józef Pasterkiewicz from Cergowa near Dukla.

In 1941, four people asked Józef’s uncle for help with  finding a shelter. The youngest, Irena Halberstein, was five years old. He brought the Jews to his sister’s house, Maria Pasterkiewicz and her three children. The families had known each other before the war, as the Jews used to buy milk from the Pasterkiewiczfamily.

“We hid them in the barn. Everything was covered with heaps of straw, and when the winter ended, we prepared a place for them in the cellar under the house.”

The danger of Nazi searcheforced the Jews to hide outside of the farmstead. They went to the forest where they foundan innaccessible spot surrounded by thickets, a good place for a shack. Twice a week Józef Pasterkiewicz brought them food. He went at night to avoid German patrols.

“I never took the road, but always went along the river. Each time I went I was afraid someone might catch me, betray me, and that my entire family would die. It was horrible. The winter was coming and they could not stay in the forest any longer. My brother lived in Lipowica, near the forest. That’s where they went. (...) They survived there until the end of the war.”

An article from the album Poles who rescued Jews during the Holocaust. Recalling Forgotten History, Łódź 2009