The Stalmach family

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Story of Rescue - The Stalmach family

Oskar Haber, a Jew born in 1910 in Brzeźnica near Dębica, ran a dental surgery in Cracow until September 1939. When the war broke out, he left the city and moved east in a wave of refugees. On 24 December 1939, he returned to the town of his birth where he managed to meet with his fiancée - Fryda Himmelblau. They married a year later, on 12 December 1940.

After a while, the Habers found themselves in Pustków, a labour camp created near Dębica, where Oskar worked as a dentist. Thanks to his education, he was allowed to stay outside of the camp. Aleksander Osiecki, a priest, was one of his patients. The priest prepared fake birth certificates and a fake marriage certificate for Oskar and his wife - this allowed them to obtain German documents (Kennkarte). Their “Aryan” names were: Roman and Anna Pawełek.

In August 1942, to avoid being transported to another camp, the couple fled to the village of Jurków where the family of priest Osiecki was. The Habers worked at their farm for almost a year. They met another worker there, Franciszek Musiał, and made friends with him.

On 8 May 1943, Germans came to Jurków, asking people about the Habers. Thanks to Franciszek’s help, Fryda and Oskar managed to run away and find shelter at the house of his sister and brother-in-law - Anna and Jacek Stalmach. When making their escape from the Germans, the Habers did not have the time to take anything with them and were left only with what they had on their persons. Franciszek Musiał provided them with documents and supported them when they needed his support.

Anna and Jan Stalmach lived at a secluded spot in the village of Tworkowa which made hiding the Habers easier. Their son Adam, who became a priest after the war and who passed his secondary school-leaving examination in 1943, belonged to the Home Army (Armia Krajowa) and performed task such as carrying orders. In spite of his underground activity and the risk associated with it, the Stalmachs would not cease helping Jews.

The stay of the Habers with the Stalmachs was not without a couple of tense moments: “When some nark reported to the authorities that my parents were harbouring Jews, Germans came to our house, surrounded it and searched it thoroughly - they took my father with them and wanted to burn down the house and outbuildings,” their son recollects. In the end, the hiding Jews were not found and Jan returned home. Thanks to the invaluable help and kindness of the Stalmachs, the Habers survived until the end of the war.

After the end of WWII, Oskar Haber and his wife went to the USA. They sporadically contacted the family which had been hiding them.

In 1990 the Stalmach family, as well as Father Aleksander Osiecki and Franciszek Musiał were honored with the title of Righteous Among the Nations.

Bibliography

  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009
  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, Dział odznaczeń Yad Vashem. Dokumentacja sprawy Jana i Anny Stelmachów, 349/24/1387