The Sobolewski Family

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Story of Rescue - The Sobolewski Family

She lived with her parents and two older brothers in Brańsk, a small town of 2,000 people in Podlasie. There were more Jews than Poles in the town. Only a few survived – there should have been more. A large group escaped from the ghetto when it was liquidated and hid in trenches in the forest.

”One of the Poles betrayed them to the Germans”, says Zofia. She was thirteen years old at the time.

Two boys, Izrael Brenner and Chaim Wróbel saved themselves from the manhunt because one went to get water, while the other went for pastry. Izrael was the son of one of a neighbour with whom her family were friendly before the War.

”Izrael’s mother made clothes for us before the War and we used to give them milk”, she says. Zofia’s parents had a farm.

Izrael and Chaim hid in the cemetery near the chapel. ”They had amongst lilac bushes”, writes Zofia, ”so that people couldn’t see them through the leaves. In winter, they covered their tracks in the snow. They removed a cover and went down under the chapel where there was a basement containing coffins “.

He father and brother brought them food. She did also.

”After the War, they also murdered Jews”, she says. ”My God, they were thugs, not people. They went everywhere, killing. My father hid Izrael and Chaim in the barn. He made a moveable board for when the bandits came to us with their rifles and told my father to open the barn. He fiddled around with the key long enough for the boys to go and hide amongst the potatoes “.

Very soon after that, Izrael Brenner and Chaim Wróbel decided to leave Poland. But they did not have the money for the fare. So Chaim sold some kind of fabrics which he had saved from his father’s shop. Izrael sold Zofia Sobolewski’s parentssome land in Brańsk. Their home still stands there to this day.

Bibliography

  • Majewska Justyna, Interview with Zofia Drzewiecka, 6.07.2008