The Pietrzak Family

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Story of Rescue - The Pietrzak Family

Mikołaj Pietrzak and Samuel Broder knew each other well before the war. Their paths crossed again during the occupation, when the Broder family moved from Warsaw to Częstochowa hoping that the odds of survival would be better in the smaller city. Samuel found his old friend, a military man who was now active in the Home Army.

In 1941, the Broders were imprisoned in the ghetto. When they began to sense the ensuing closure, Samuel asked Mikołaj to save his only daughter, Sonia. Mikołaj, who had three children of his own, decided to help. Freeing Sonia from the ghetto was a difficult task. Mikołaj was not able to get her himself because he would certainly be stopped. Instead, he sent his own daughter, the twelve-year-old Helena.

To this day, Helena remembers the fear she felt on this mission. Sonia moved in with the Pietrzaks, who cared for her as if she were their own child. She spent most of her time with Helena and the girls were as close as sisters.

The Broders survived the war and immigrated to Israel with their daughter soon after, remaining in close contact  with the Pietrzak family. Mikołaj Pietrzak and Helena Śleszyńska-Kożuch were recognized as Righteous Among the Nations in 1979.