The Roszkowski Family

enlarge map

Story of Rescue - The Roszkowski Family

The death sentence given to her for meat trading, forced Anna Krupa-Roszkowska and her son Paweł to escape from their hometown of Pionki to the village of Jedlnia-Letnisko near Radom in the beginning of the Second Wrold War. They lived on the farm of Aleksander Błasiak. In 1941 Błasiak came to them with a Jewish fugitive, Józef Kon, asking for shelter.

Shortly Ms Roszkowska went to Tomaszów Mazowiecki to bring Józef‘s family. The Kons were wealthy and could pay for their upkeep throughout the war. Janina Kon was not Jewish and Mr Kon reverted to Catholicism two years before the war. However, that did not make any difference to the Nazis. The man spent two and a half years in a tiny hiding place in the attic. His wife and daughters were living openly on the ground floor. The rescuers believed that the less people knew about their secret, the better.

“We had to be doubly hidden. Firstly from Nazis, and secondly from nosy Poles. We didn’t really suspect our neighbours, but there was the matter of torture: a person would confess to anything. Every time there was a round-up, I kept thinking: ‘What if they catch me? What if I can’t stand it?’”

Despite having asthma, Kon kept smoking. At some point the Germans were stationed in the house. When Kon had an asthma attack, everyone would start pretending having a coughing fit.

After the war the Kons returned to Tomaszów Mazowiecki. Maria Kon run a store inherited from her father. Krystyna Kon is a scietnits and works in the University of Opole. Paweł Roszkowski lived in Nowa Huta near Kraków for 53 years and worked in the construction industry for 20 of those. Once retired, he lectured about the Holocaust in schools. He died in May 2009. Several weeks before his death he had said:

“I regret that so little is taught about the Holocaust in high schools and junior high schools - next to nothing. I speak from experience. This is what my mother told me: you can’t be two-faced about it; that this one here is a Jew, and this one is a Pole. They are both human beings.”

Bibliography

  • Strączek Ignacy, Interview with Paweł Roszkowski, 26.02.2009