The Ryniewicz Family

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Story of Rescue - The Ryniewicz Family

Before the war Danuta Ryniewicz and her family lived in Siennica, a village near Mińsk Mazowiecki. They ran a grocery store. They had contacts with the Jews living in the neighbourhood.

Soon after the beginning of the World War II their house was bombed and burnt down. All the six of them spent the winter of 1939 at a friend’s house. At the beginning of 1940 Bronisława, Stefan and their children moved to a small outbuilding located between Świder and Otwock. Here – for lack of other means – Mr. Ryniewicz brewed moonshine to earn some money. He also got involved in smuggling, with the help of Pinkus Messing.

On August 19th, 1942, the Germans started liquidation of the Otwock ghetto. Messing and his girlfriend Rachela Kiejzman managed to escape. In October they came to the Ryniewicz place asking for shelter. As Danuta Ryniewicz remembers: “Mr. Messing and his wife [then a friend Rachela] knocked on our door at night and asked my father to hide them. After a long discussion with my mother, father decided to help them.

He dug out a small cellar under our room, which was connected to a small shed. We kept a pig in that shed. There was no real entrance to the cellar, just a hole about 30 cm in diameter, through which we passed on the food and collected waste”.

The couple hardly ever left the cellar. There was a window in the pigpen, so there was a danger of them being noticed.

After the war

According to Danuta Korzanecka, “Pinkus and Rachela were finally freed after the Russian army entered Otwock. They left for the West, first, I think, to France, and then to USA”.

The Ryniewicz family stayed in Otwock. After the war Danuta went to Jelenia Góra, where she stayed for several years. She studied at the Pedagogical School and became a teacher. In the 1960s she returned to Otwock.

The rescued couple rarely got in touch with the Ryniewicz family.

It was Danuta Korzanecka herself who took up steps to obtain the medal of the Righteous Among the Nations for herself and her family.

Other Stories of Rescue in the Area

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Bibliography

  • Brzostek Agnieszka, Interview with Danuta Korzanecka , 22.04.2009