The Ryszewski Family

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Story of Rescue - The Ryszewski Family

“There were thirteen of them. Well, the place was crowded,” laughs Zofia, “for we were five people, in addition. My sister, my baby brother and I, we were unaware of the danger. And the parents? One Jew, or thirteen, what was the difference? The punishment was the same.”

They were hiding in the three-room apartment owned by her parents. It was in Warsaw, at Nowy Wjazd Street, in front of the Royal Castle. Artmanowicz – a bookseller, a very nice gentleman – was the first to arrive. He came in the end of 1941. There was one four-year-old child, the rest of them were middle-aged and elder people.

“We had family-like relations. Everybody would cook, eat and go to sleep together. The palliasses and mattresses were being spread in the rooms for the night and stored in the unused bathroom during the day.”

The heart of the group was Ania, a wonderful person. She had breast cancer, but she would not let the others know that she was suffering. Some gentleman from “Żegota” was bringing her morphine.

“They tried not to disturb,” Zofia recalls. “We used to play hearts in the evenings. I remember no quarrels, no stinging, no tensions.”

“The neighbors suspected something. Once the Germans were in the building. In the bathroom we had a wardrobe that went from the floor to the ceiling. It had a passage inside. There was some space behind the wardrobe, everybody could fit into it and wait until the danger was over.”

Where were the money from? Who had some, would give some; who had none, would give none. “Moreover, my sister was taking away anything she could to the bazaar in Praga district. She was selling things.” They had some gold, one could sell it and exchange for food.

“Their fate was terrible,” she says. “ two years in hiding.”

And then there was the Uprising, the house was set on fire and everybody went their own way.

All of them survived, except one who was shot by the Germans in the camp in Pruszków.

Bibliography

  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, 349, 2172
  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009
  • Majewska Justyna, Interview with Zofia Brusikiewicz, 1.06.2008