The Sikora Family

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Story of Rescue - The Sikora Family

The Sikora family lived in Częstochowa in the company-owned settlement of the textile factory Pelcery, where Stefan was employed. His wife Ludmiła ran their household. 

During the Nazi occupation, the Germans merged Pelcery with the factory owned by the Hasag corporation and started to manufacture arms. At the end of June 1943, after “the little ghetto” had been liquidated, the Nazi transformed the factory into the largest forced labor camp for Jews bearing the statute of the concentration camp. In August 1944 there were about 10,000 Jews doing their time in the Hasag-Pelcery camp: these were mainly survivors from the ghettos in Częstochowa and Łódź and from the camps located in the provinces of Radom and Kielce.

In the face of the Soviet offensive, the Nazi deported half of all the prisoners into the territory of the Reich. On January 17, 1945 the Red Army liberated the rest of 5200 Jews, including 1518 inhabitants of Częstochowa.

As Stefan Sikora was in charge of the fire brigade unit of the Hasag-Pelcery camp, he could move without any restraints on the premises of the whole camp. Together with his son Jerzy, he smuggled food and medicines to the Jewish prisoners. When the evacuation of the camp began, both Sikoras hid two camp fugitives in their own cellar. These were Kalman Chęciński and Zisla Cholozin, the Jews whom the Sikoras had been helping to survive in the camp before its liquidation.

A teenage Stefan’s daughter named Aleksandra Renata Sikora also worked in the Hasag-Pelcery factory. She was moved with the fate of the Jewish prisoners, so she decided to help them. She selected Bruria, the woman not much elder than Aleksandra, who was clearly helpless as “she was alone here, she had nobody.”

Bruria recollects: “In spite of the fact that establishing relations between the Polish free workers and Jewish prisoners was prohibited, Renata became my friend. In secret and despite the danger of being discovered, she would regularly each day bring sandwiches to me.

Only those who know who difficult it was, even for Poles, to get food can truly appreciate such efforts. She simply shared with me her every meal. This lasted for years until the liberation time - each day there was the danger that our friendship and the fact that Aleksandra helped me and others would come into light.”

Even after the camp had been closed, Sikora got through to it to fetch Bruria a loaf of bread. According to Bruria, it was that loaf of bread that helped her to survive during the death march. 

After their emigration to Israel, all of the three Rescued remained in contact with the Sikoras for the rest of post-war years.

Bibliography

  • Wijaczka Jacek, Miernik Grzegorz, Szpytma Mateusz red., Z przeszłości Żydów polskich. Polityka – gospodarka – kultura – społeczeństwo, Kraków 2005
    "They Lost Their Lives but Saved the World. Shooting of Józef and Wiktoria Ulma and Their Seven Children on March 24, 1944 for Hiding Jews" A reconstruction of the story of hiding Jews by the Ulm family from Markowa until the time the entire family was shot to death by the Nazis.
  • Andrzejewska Monika, Interview with Aleksandra Sikora, 12.03.2009
  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009