The Potezny Family

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Story of Rescue - The Potezny Family

Whe the German Army entered the area which is today Ukraine in 1941 the Jews were forced in the ghettos. Gitł and Meir Weiss with their three children quickly fled from the ghetto in Borysław, thus beginning many years of switching hiding places. One of the many Nazi-inspired Ukrainian pogroms they survived in a stable, barn and chapel of Anna Góral. They spent eight months behind the wall of their own house. They were hidden and fed by Julia Lasota, the new owner. Their hiding place was less than a meter wide. The next two years, they spent in a basement of an orphanage. It was damp and cold. They had to stand on their knees since the ceiling was very low. And they had to be silent, because of the people above.

Szewach Weiss, in years 2000-2003 the Ambassador of Israel to Poland, recounts the time in hiding:

 “Children; Ukrainians, Poles. They danced and I recalled how a few months earlier I had been among them.”

Throughout the entire period in hiding, the Weiss family were helped by the Potężnys, their pre-war neighbors. During one of the pogroms, they hid the Weisses in their own house, placing the children under the duvet and the bed.

While they were hiding in the orphanage, Tadeusz Potężny, then a teenager, brought them food and removed the waste through the basement window.

“When they were able to get out into the yard they looked like shadows not people, they could barely stand. It was a horrible sight.” describes Tadeusz Potężny.

The Weisses and three of their children survived.

Bibliography

  • Szwedowska Joanna, Ziemia i chmury. Z Szewachem Weissem rozmawia Joanna Szwedowska
  • Szewach Weiss, Czas ambasadora
  • Maksimowska Agata, Interview with Szewach Weissem, 1.06.2009
  • Boniecka Ewa, Nazywaliśmy go Szymek, „Sukces”, nr 7
    Concers Maria and Tadeusz Potężny awarded for saving Weiss family.