The Strzelecki Family

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Story of Rescue - The Strzelecki Family

The Pistol family and Maria Strzelecka, with her daughter Basia, lived in Dobczyce near Kraków. They were neighbours.

Adolf Pistol ran a tannery - buying and trading in skins was a popular occupation amongst Dobczyce Jews. He lived with his wife Rozalia, children Halinka and Pinkas (known as Polek), his sister Zofia and his parents.

Maria had a home with rooms for rent. She also had a small farm. Her second husband, Basia’s father, managed a mill in Gdów and was rarely at home. Straight after the outbreak of war, Maria rented a part of her home to escaping Jews from outside of Dobczyce – the four-member Borger family, as well as to Dora Landerer, with her two children and sister-in-law Adela.

In August 1942, the Germans issued an order for local Jews to move to the ghetto in Wieliczki. Maria’s tenants left. Otto Borger wrote to Mrs Strzelecka, later, from the forced labour camp in Stalowa Wola, where he had ended up. Maria sent him parcels there. She heard no more news about Dora.

The Pistol family, who at first hid with Maria, also decided to leave the town. They found themselves in a labour camp in Prokocim, and then later in Płaszów from where, after a certain time, they managed to escape. For a few days, they hid with the Bielak family, where Rozalia’s brother and mother had already been hiding for a while. They then returned to Mrs Strzelecka, asking for help.

Maria put them into one of her rooms. She also arranged a hiding place in the attic to where they could go and hide in time of danger. They remained under the care of Mrs Strzelecka and her teenage daughter, Basia, until the end of the War. A few people knew about their existence, amng them being Jan Knofliczek, Wilhelm Nykiel and their wives, whom the Germans had placed into Adolf’s house. All, however, maintained the secrecy and Knofliczek even actively participated in the help.

After the War, the Pistol family left for Kraków and then emigrated to Israel. They maintained correspondence contact with Maria and Barbara. Otto wrote to them also until the 1960’s.

Other Stories of Rescue in the Area

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Bibliography

  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, 349, 1549
  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009
  • Ewa Opawska, Interview with Barbara Rudzka, 16.08.2010
  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, 349, 1550