The Pomorski Family

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Story of Rescue - The Pomorski Family

During the occupation, Józef Pomorski and his son helped Jews who had escaped from the ghetto in Bełżec.

”In 1940-1941, the winter was severe, an extremely heavy frost. In those conditions, my father-in-law went to Bełżec, to the market in the town. Connections with the Jews was maintained daily by visits to the tailor, the shoemaker or an artisan. As a matter of fact, craft was in the hands of the Jews. He would ask Paweł, ‘What’s new with you?’ Paweł would reply that things were not good, that even partridges are dying due to the heavy frost. The Jew responded that this was not good, that the time of our genocide is approaching. I don’t know where he got that from, where he read it, I don’t know.

It all started innocently. It was obvious that the occupation was hard on us. We lived in a village, actually in a settlement away from the village. (…) We needed a tailor and he would still make visits along with his wife and his wife’s adopted daughters. It was Regina, Rywka and Chana. The German came to the village and a cousin, actually an aunt, said. ”The tailor is over at the Pomorski’s sewing”. He was noticed, so by the time he got there, everything had vanished in a moment. They took out everything, the machines were moved and nothing was left.

Those Jews were extremely cautious as, just after this event, they moved to another place. On the Saturday before Green Sunday, a gang attacked us. The reason was that Jews were there, a tailor was there. They didn’t find any Jews, however they stripped us completely of all our clothing. My brother was sleeping in the barn, but he didn’t do anything because there was nothing that he could do. But he could have done something. He was in the partisans. He could have shot at them and scared them off. But he said that they would have returned and burnt the place – so there was no sense in shooting at them.

In the beginning, four Jews were in our home – later three, but that’s a later story. They knew that my father had a good heart and said that with him it would be the best for them. They would come. They were not always in the same place. If there was something not to their liking, they would move to another place – they even went to auntie’s – in the village of Stasin three kilometres away.

The situation for the Jews worsened, but of course their hiding-place in the barn was maintained; there was a hiding-place above the pig-sty, amongst the straw. The Jews had the possibility of going out at night, due to the fact that there were no nearby buildings. As far as food was concerned, we ate what they ate. We took them food only in the evenings. We went there with two buckets – no one could have suspected that we were taking anything to anyone.

At one time, the authority’s whole group of collectors was killed, that is, two Germans and maybe ten Ukrainians in Wojciechów. We were extremely frightened. We all ran away, however those Jews had to stay at our home. And that’s not all. Those who felt endangered in the nearby villages all fled to us, because with us the sitiation was very good. However, we fled as far as Józefin because we considered that the Germans would liquidate the whole district. The panic was remarkable. The whole district council left. But it was good that the borough leader was in Pomorze.

What it was all about was that the Germans tried to apprehend a lieutenant of the Home Army as he travelled by the mill. He ran away, ran away and exploded a grenade, killing himself. When he died, Germans died with him. It became interesting, as it was necessary to go to the guardpost where the Germans were armed. Everything worked out beautifully – they first did away with the policeman. A certain woman by the name of Zosia had a lot to do with that.

Later, three people arrived at our home. It was the shoemaker Press. He came with his son who was my age. They arrived from Bełżec. One of the sons was in the camp in Kraśnik. He was probably in the Jewish Police there or something like that. When the camp at Kraśnik was liquidated, he escaped. At first, he hid at auntie’s. He had a star repainted on his back. Auntie took a knife and approached him. He jumped out of a chair, thinking that she was going to stab him, but all auntie wanted to do was to scrape off the star.

While they were at auntie’s, they stayed in the barn. On a whistled signal, the Jews knew that they were to come for food.  At one time, a stranger came. He whistled. When the Jews started running, he was startled. Him on one side, and them, from the barn, on the other side. But the crops were already tall, so they could hide themselves.

Going back to the time when they smashed those Germans and we ran away, my father was of a stoic disposition and he began baking bread in the oven. He didn’t run. He wasn’t afraid. We were all scared. He was the only one who remained.

With the coming of liberation, they left with that with which they had come. After the War, they lived in Lubartowski Street in Lublin. I had no home so, for a time, my brother and I also lived there.

They left the country around 1950-1951. I don’t know precisely because by that time I was already in Wrocław. After the War, Szloma Press Szloma travelled to Bełżyc as he had three houses there. Why he went there, I don’t know. Maybe to search for or dig up valuables that he’d left there. And unfortunately, tragedy struck him there – they killed him”.

The interview with Tadeusz Pomorski edited by M. Grudzińska and A. Marczuk is published here courtesy of the State Museum in Majdanek.

Other Stories of Rescue in the Area

Bibliography

  • Madała K., Interview with Tadeusz Pomorski, 11.10.1994