The Świątek family

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Story of Rescue - The Świątek family

Janina and Piotr Świątek lived in Nowy Wiśnicz together with their children. Their house was located at the outskirts of the village which made it easier for them to help Jews during the German occupation. Fugitives from the nearby ghettos, hiding in the forests surrounding Nowy Wiśnicz, asked them for help.

In December 1942, Hirsz Abusch, a Jew who fled from the Bochnia ghetto, knocked at the door of the Świątek house. Janina opened the door and let him in as Piotr was at work at the time. “A blizzard was raging outside and Hirsz asked us to hide him at our farm because he was chilled to the marrow and drenched with water. He wanted us to hide him until the end of the German action in Bochnia. My wife, seeing that his clothes were soaking wet, gave him my clothes and shoes so that he could change and placed his clothes on the kitchen stove to dry. She was worried and tried to think of a place where he could be hidden without coming down with some illness which would make his situation even worse,” Piotr Świątek recalled after the war.

The husband and wife decided that it would be the safest to hide the man in their barn, in an especially prepared hiding place. Janina nursed him back to health and brought hot meals to him and blankets to cover himself with while Piotr made sure that none of their neighbours learned about Hirsz’s presence at their household.

The Świątek family harboured Hirsz Abusch for several weeks. The man then left their house to continue hiding on his own. He lived through the occupation and then left Poland, travelling first to the USA and then to Israel. He remained in contact with the Świątek family.

Other Stories of Rescue in the Area

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 Janiny i Piotra Świątków, 349/24/1438