The Szafraniec Family

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Story of Rescue - The Szafraniec Family

In mid-1942 he was 16. He began operating with the Peasants’ Battalions (Bataliony Chłopskie) and aiding the local Jews hiding from transports to the camps.

In the autumn of 1942, Moses and Barbara Wolfowicz escaped the Pacanów ghetto. Władysław’s parents – Jan and Elżbieta – agreed to shelter the two at their house in Rataje (the Kielce region). Soon the Wolfowiczs were joined by more fugitives from the Treblinka transport: Moses’ brother, Fałek  and Herman Kleinplatz. One day, in 1943, the Szafraniec family was faced with a blackmail threat: they would have to pay 100,000 zlotys for the blackmailer’s silence with regard to their aiding Jews, or, as Moses later described it, both the Szafraniecs and the Jews would disappear from the face of the earth. With their life threatened, they hid in a nearby forest, in a hideout prepared by Władysław, who provided them with food, medication and news, especially related to the nearing frontline. It was also there that a group of bandits attacked, beat up the group and shot Barbara. Their next hiding spot was in Połaniec. Władysław took them there by a horse cart.

For a time the Szafraniec house was also a shelter for the Frejman brothers, Leon, Natan and Herman, and the Foss couple, Janina and Karol. Karol, ill at the time, and his wife were brought to the Rataje house from Szczucin. This was their most risky endeavor: they were halted by German outposts twice. Fortunately the Germans did not notice that the Kennkarts the Fosses had were forged. Thanks to the help of the Szafraniec family, nine Jews survived the occupation. After the war Herman Kleinplatz left for the US, and in 1958 the Wolfowiczs left for Israel.

Bibliography

  • Grynberg Michał, Księga Sprawiedliwych, Warszawa 1993

    The lexicon includes the stories of Poles honoured with the title of Righteous Among the Nations in the years 1963-1989. The list of entries is preceded by a preface by Icchak Arad and Chaim CheferThe Righteous of the World.

  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, 349, 208
    Statement made by Władysław Szafraniec in 01.12.1982
  • Wernic Joanna, Interview with Władysław Szafraniec, 1.01.2008
  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009