The Płachciński family

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Story of Rescue - The Płachciński family

Felicja Płachcińska, a widow, lived in Bochnia with her son Ludwik. They earned a living for themselves by working at their farm. Close to the middle of 1941, the Germans created a ghetto in the city and Pod Lipką, the street where Płachcińska lived, was adjacent to its borders. In time, the mother and the son decided to try and help Jewish people in the ghetto.

After the war, Ludwik Płachciński recalled: “My mother was the main helper [...] I, a teenage boy back then, took active part in such help, i.e. in smuggling food over the wall around the ghetto”.

In August 1942, the ghetto in Bochnia was liquidated. Before the liquidation action commenced, Felicja and Ludwik helped around 20 people escape. “My mother and I placed them in various houses in Bochnia, fed them, and concealed them by various means. Some such people managed to make their way to Hungary even before the end of the occupation and we never heard from them again”,Ludwik recalled.

The Germans arrested Felicja Płachcińska in 1942 on a suspicion that she was helping Jews. She was detained for several months and eventually released due to lack of evidence.

In 1942, Józef Wiener, aged fourteen at the time, came to Felicja’s house. They did not know each other before the war, even though the boy had lived in a village close by. He proposed that he would help Płachcińska with farm work if she hid him. Felicja agreed.

The boy slept in the stable so as not to endanger Felicja’s family unnecessarily. He continued hiding at the farm and in the cowshed for around a year, until neighbours learned that he was there. In order to stay safe, Józef left the farmstead and found shelter in its vicinity, continuing to spend Saturdays and Sundays at Płachcińska’s house. His presence drew the attention of neighbours again and he had to leave, this time for good. Płachcińska taught him to pray and Ludwik gave him a religious medallion. The boy could pass for a Catholic and was able to find employment, partially thanks to this – he worked at a farm in the vicinity of Cracow and remained there until the end of German occupation.

Józef Wiener lived to see the end of the war and left for Palestine soon after it was over. He remained in touch with the Płachciński family. Ludwik paid a visit to him in Israel in 1989.

Other Stories of Rescue in the Area

Bibliography

  • Zawidzka Iwona, W 50-tą rocznice zagłady Getta bocheńskiego, Rocznik Bocheński 1993
  • Zawidzka I., 55. rocznica likwidacji getta
  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009
  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, Dział odznaczeń Yad Vashem. Dokumentacja sprawy Ludwika Płachcińskiego, 349/24/1440