The Swiecicki Family

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Story of Rescue - The Swiecicki Family

Rozalia Braunrot liked to sit on the porch with Maria Krystyna Bytnar’s aunt. The aunt never realized Rozalia was Jewish. Rozalia Braunrot, her husband, daughter, and step-sister lived openly in the Święcickas’ forest lodge, albeit under the false name of Lasocki. To the neighbors, distant family and other guests, they pretended to be holidaymakers, whose stay in the forests of Ząbki near Warsaw was prolonged. They stayed there between June and December 1944.

“Mum [Stefania Święcicka] told them from the start to act normally. They returned to life. Before they came to us, the woman with her daughter hid in a closet for half a year. They were quite harassed by their hosts there.” says Bytnar.

The Lasockis had to be careful not to give themselves away with their language, accent or habits. Rozalia and Elżbieta went to the mass every Sunday. It was impossible to keep kosher: food was too scarce. On one occasion Henryk Braunrot, who traveled to Warsaw to work, had to run away from a former acquaintance. He was afraid that the latter might blackmail him with the threat of denouncement.

“Maybe some neighbors or others might suspect the Braunrots were... [We were afraid that] someone would break down and inform. Just like that…”

After the end of the war the Braunrot family left for France. They maintained warm contact with the Święcickas. Only Mary Ross is still alive today and living in the US. She sends Bytnar presents twice a year.

“She’s always considered me as her sister, treated me like a sister.”

Maria Krystyna Bytnar worked as a dentist for 37 years. She continues to live in Ząbki. The forest lodge, where her mother helped Jews, is still standing. Mrs. Bytnar sometimes takes a stroll in the area.

Other Stories of Rescue in the Area

Bibliography

  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009
  • Waślicka Zofia, Interview with Maria Krystyna Bytnar , 2.05.2009