The Stankiewicz Family

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Story of Rescue - The Stankiewicz Family

Mikołaj and Maria Stankiewicz, together with their three teenage children, Anna, Piotr and Stanisława, ran a farm in the village of Muszkatówka, in the Borszczów District of the former Tarnopolski Province. During the German occupation, their children took food to Jews hiding in the forest. In the summer of 1943, they provided shelter to the Rosenwald family, whom they hid on their farm over the following year.

Before the outbreak of war, Abram (Munio?) and Lotka Rosenwald lived in Borszczow, where Abram was a horse trader. Through that, he came to make contact with Mikołaj Stankiewicz.

In April 1942, the Rosenwald couple, together with their five children (Zosia, Mira, Andzia, Dawid and Owadia) were placed into the local ghetto by the Germans. During an akcja in June 1943, they managed to escape, when 1,800 of the surviving Jews were shot at the local Jewish cemetery.

At first, the family, in exchange for payment, hid with a Ukrainian acquaintance who, after a few days, asked them to leave his property. It was then that Abram turned for help to Mikołaj Stankiewicz.

In an interview with the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Piotr Stankiewicz said, ”Mum was afraid. She accused our father of preparing us for death. But dad explained that he was aware of the danger. He said that mum went to church every day but, at the same time, would deny these people a piece of bread”.

The Stankiewicz family prepared two hiding places for the Rosenwald family – one between the walls of the attic and the other under the floor of the chaff-cutter. For safety, they would alternate between the two every couple of days. Piotr brought them food in a bucket. The Stankiewicz family not only provided them food, but also provided them with books. During their year-long stay, Dawid and Owadia Rosenwald left the hiding place only once – to bury their mother who had died of a heart-attack. Evidence of the shallow grave gave neigbours cause to report the Stankiewicz family, However, a search of their property found nothing.

Abram and his five children stayed with the Stankiewicz family until liberation in July 1944. Not long after, they left for Poland and, from there, for the United States. After the death of Mikołaj, who was probably murdered in retaliation for hiding Jews, the Stankiewicz family moved firstly to Jelenia Góra and, from there, to the village of Lipiany, in the Zachodniopomorskie Province. Following the deaths of Maria, Mikołaj, Anna and Stanisława, contact was renewed and Piotr visited the Rosenwald family in the USA.

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Bibliography

  • Czyżewska Małgorzata, Interview with Piotr Stankiewicz, 17.07.2010
  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009