The Paszkowski Family

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Story of Rescue - The Paszkowski Family

Before the War, the Paszkowski family lived in Niemenczyn, 25 kms from Vilna (now part of Lithuania). Before 1941, one third of its inhabitants were Jews.

Józef Paszkowski had a farm near a forest. He also worked at the tar-burning plant with his neighbour, Dov Gdud.

The Germans occupied the area at the beginning of July 1941. Soon after, they ordered the Jews to move into a ghetto. On 20th September, about 800 Jews were chased into the forest, where ditches had already been dug. Shots were fired. The Gdud family managed to escape. The father and son reached the Paszkowski home where they were hidden in the attic.

Leonard Paszkowski, 12 years old at the time, describes his parents’ decision to help the Gdud family, ”After all, he was our neighbour his whole life. When they worked together in the tar-burning plant, they’d dug out the tree trunks. So why should they have been allowed to belted up?”.

The Paszkowski family helped the Gdud family until the end of the War. They sent food to them in their forest bunker. From time to time, they spent time in the Paszkowski home which was next to the forest.

Leonard served as the link with those in hiding. Once, he managed to warn them in time that their hiding place had been revealed. His mother had obtained that information.

The Gdud family survived the War and then left Poland. The Paszkowski family were repatriated to the Śląsk province. They lost contact with each other.

They found each other, by chance, in the 1980’s – through a newspaper advertisement placed by an Israeli tourist who had been moved the story of the Paszkowski family. Zeew Gdud applied to the Yad Vashem Instutite for the Paszkowski family to be honoured with the title of ”Righteous Among the Nations”. 

Bibliography

  • Red., Wywiad z Leonardem Paszkowskim, Wieczernie Nowosti nr 160 (8970)
  • Jóźwiak Ignacy, Interview with Leonard Paszkowski, 13.05.2009
  • Grynberg Michał, Księga Sprawiedliwych, Warszawa 1993

    The lexicon includes the stories of Poles honoured with the title of Righteous Among the Nations in the years 1963-1989. The list of entries is preceded by a preface by Icchak Arad and Chaim CheferThe Righteous of the World.