The Swierczek Family

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Story of Rescue - The Swierczek Family

Before the war Maria Świerczek and Jan Pariser went to school together in Jodłowa (Podkarpackie Voivodeship). In the memoirs that Jan Pariser wrote after the war, he included the passage:


“Before we left the house, we prepared the dog house for the dog, milked the cows and took them to our friends, so that the animals would not suffer after our escape. … Leaving the house was one of the most solemn experiences of my life.”


The Parisers were warned by a local policeman a day before the planned execution of the Jodłowa Jews, and the family escaped to the woods. From 1942 until the end of the war, the couple and their two children hid alternately, in a forest dug-out and in the farms of neighbours. Throughout this time, the Świerczeks provided the Parisers with food.


“Even if Germans stopped me, I had hogwash and waste on top, and food underneath.” Maria recalls.


The Parisers had no luck with their hideouts. In the first house they hid in, the owners invited them for supper only to sell them out to the police. The Parisers escaped prison that very night. They were told to leave the next house in broad daylight, and so they came to the Świerczeks. It was 1944.


“They said it was clear they were meant to die, but father said: ‘What do you mean, meant to?’ He took them home and made a hole in the barn, secured it, and they lived there.”


Occasionally the barn served as the hideout of Hesiek, who had been miraculously saved from being executed. Naked, he ran from the pit that the Jews were ordered to dig for their own graves.


There were three German searches at the Świerczeks’. The soldiers tore off the floor each time, but found no one.


After the war the Parisers left for the US. Maria Świerczek is a teacher and used to be the headmistress of the local school.


“I keep appealing during lectures at schools, that we cannot allow this atrocious time, which took away millions of innocent people, to ever be repeated.”

Bibliography

  • Maślak Magdalena, Interview with Maria Świerczek, 25.03.2009
  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, 349, 1160
  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009