The Sadlo Family

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Story of Rescue - The Sadlo Family

During the occupation in a village near Maciejowic, from autumn 1943 until liberation, the parents of Henryk Sadło hid Jews who had escaped from the camp atSobibor.

”They found themselves in our home because one of them, Mosiek, came from our village. He had contacts because his sister Pesa had converted before the War and his brother Nuchym also converted under the name Marian and married a Catholic woman. They were escaping. The other one, the son of a rabbi, he came from Żółkiewki. These were our Jews. They had lived here for many generations. Their family name was Honig. We knew each other well. We were on good terms with Mosiek as, with two partners, he had an orchard here. And it was a big orchard.

They didn’t want to walk around the villages and ask people to take them in. They came straight to my brother. He was free. He wasn’t afraid. At first, they were in a different place, but not for long because a drunk came along with a pistol… After that situation, Marian brought everyone to us. Among them was Marian’s sister, Ruchla and her son. The boy lives, she died. The son lives on Pan Balcer Street. He was called Jasio and he converted after liberation. I don’t know his past name, but now he’s called Libcewicz. After liberation, they all went their separate ways..

The first person was Honig’s sister with her little boy. Later, Marian came with his younger brother Mosiek and asked us to take in him and two other people. Ruchla left with the little boy. She probably went to Antoniówka.

There was a hiding-place in the house. There were two entrances to the building. In the front was an entrance with a corridor, in the backyard was an entrance on the corner. There were no floors, only a hole that had been dug out, the bottom of which was lined with straw. The first Jews stayed there – and others also. During the day, they sat in the apartment with windows all around. We kept watch so that in case someone came,  they would have time to hide. One entrance went from the second room into the kitchen and the backyard and the other led to the corridor and then to the second room.. But that was closed. Whoever came into the kitchen, settled their business and went. Mainly they were his friends from the underground, as Marian was a peasant of the 1915 generation – they came, drank vodka and went.

In the main, two stayed with us in the beginning, and later three. Three  guys: Majorek from Hrubieszow, the rabbi’s son from Żółkiewski Lejba and Mosiek. I knew Majorka and the rabbi’s son less well..

They would go into the yard, but in the evenings we would go for a walk in the fields. I had a weapon because I beonged to the underground, I was in the Peasant Battalion. Every night, we kept watch over Żółkiewski side of the terrain, because right behind the village was a small forest beyond the forest was the road to Żółkiewski. But everything was quiet. There were no round-ups. No one informed, There were no obstacles.Everything was so sufficiently calm that even with the apartment having three windows where everything could be seen, we were were not all that afraid.

Ruchla was a friend of mother’s. She didn’t live far away. She came to mum and asked if she could hide with her. I soon dug a hiding-place, my brothers carrying out the dirt in a way that the neighbours wouldn’t notice. The hiding-pace was about two or three metres long. But sometimes they would leave it. And that was okay, as other people couldn’t come into the rooms, only into the kitchen..

In the last days before liberation, one could hear the sound of some kind of Russian machine gun from Żółkiewk. We said that the Russians are near. The shelter in our home was quite large. Whoever didn’t have a shelter in their house came to us..We said that, in the evening, we would go to the field with Majorek.There, there were various things (…)  We kept some things in the bunker – we didn’t know where else to keep them.

In the morning, we heard the rattling of carts and the snorting of horses – we thought that it was the Germans. When they reached the corner, the Russians started shooting The Germans were not heading for Maciejów, but for the field – straight at us. We were lying in that field. A German lay dying near us. He yelled plaintively. And we lay there. Machine guns sounded from the village and we could hear voices. We were incredibly scared. We returned home later when everything had gone quite.

After a time, we returned to the field. Dead people – we both shook with fear because neither of us had ever seen anything like that before. And Lejba was in the bunker and the Germans were in the bunker because they came to look around as the bunker was covered in the orchard, the whole surface being sewn with vetch and only a path and entrances were visible. The entrance was dusty. That shelter was fifteen metres in length and was zig-zag shaped. It was covered with split, smooth wood, the orchard was large. People hid there and when the Germans saw that, it aroused their curiosity. They asked, ‘What is that?’ When a German tried to check it out, someone yelled out to Lejba. Lejba covered himself with feathers. The German shone a torch. He found no one and left. Lejba was terribly frightened”.

From the 1970’s , Libcewicz lived inLublin. Lejba was murdered in 1945 in Lublin after liberation. Mosiek left for Bytom, where he married, ran a shop and there he died.

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

Bibliography

  • Madała K., Interview with Henryk Sadło, 28.01.1995