The Patyra Family

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Story of Rescue - The Patyra Family

Zofia Patyra-Szemro has always lived in Kamionka near Chełm. Her father had died before World War II, so her mother, Maria Patyra, had to look after her four children and work on their farm.

Zofia Patyra-Szemro recounts how her family had helped a group of Jewish refugees hide from the Nazis. These were: Jankiel, Nojch and Rajchel, members of the Manasz and Gritzman families.

During the Nazi occupation of Poland Zofia's family hid them in a bunker and in cellars. Sometimes the Jews stayed overnight in the barn. When the neighbors found out that they sheltered Jews, the Jewish families ran away to the forest for fear of being turned in. Sometimes they would come back to fetch something to eat. The Nazis, alerted by these neighbors, came, placed Zofia and her whole family by a wall, trained a machine gun upon them and started searching the house. They did not find anybody.

All the Jews who were hidden and helped by the Patyras survived the war. They went to Chełm, then to Israel, but they wrote letters. The younger sister of Zofia Patyra-Szemro visited them in Israel.  

Prepared based on the relation, recorded in the framework of the project "Lights In The Darkness - The Righteous Among The Nations", courtesy of the “Grodzka Gate – NN Theatre” Centre in Lublin