The Szewczyk family

enlarge map

Story of Rescue - The Szewczyk family

Before the war, Aniela and Franciszek Szewczyk lived in Gruszów near Myślenice together with their family. They came to know and made friends with the Goldbergs, a Jewish family from Dobczyce.

Józef Szewczyk, Aniela’s and Franciszek’s son born in 1927, remembered the situation as follows: “During the war, I lived in a wooden house with my entire family: my father, my mother, and my two sisters - Stanisława and Maria. [...] In the summer or early autumn of 1941, we learned that the Goldbergs were staying in Dobczyce. We knew one another well - the Goldbergs owned a landed estate in Gruszów which they sold before the war.”

Franciszek used to deliver food to the Goldbergs in Dobczyce. There was no ghetto there - Jews were allowed to remain in their own houses. The Germans organised a deportation of Jews as late as in August 1942, transporting all Jews from Dobczyce to the newly created ghetto in Wieliczka. Several days later, they were transported from there to the death camp in Bełżec.

Shortly before the deportation in August 1942, the Szewczyks proposed to the Goldbergs that they would hide them. Franciszek brought the entire Jewish family - Goldberg (first name unknown), his wife Giza, and their children: Jasiek and Litka - to his farm in Gruszów. A hiding place was prepared for them in a dugout/granary which was especially insulated in connection with this.

The neighbours were most likely aware that the Szewczyks were hiding Jews but no one let this knowledge show. “My father, a war invalid after WWI, was a figure of great authority for our neighbours - maybe that is why no one dared denounce us even though there were informers out there,” Józef Szewczyk explained.

Franciszek Szewczyk helped procure “Aryan documents” for the entire Goldberg family. Several months later, when the situation had ceased to be so desperate, the Goldbergs left their hiding place with the Szewczyks and went to Bochnia.

After the Goldbergs left, the Szewczyks used their dugout to hide other Jews, including Milka Mincer and her aunt Maria from the Federgön family and her brother. They hid with the Szewczyks for several weeks, then moved to another village and returned to the Szewczyks when it became too dangerous there. Maria Zdebska, née Federgön, recalled after the war: “We were helped a great deal by the Szewczyk family from Gruszów - Franciszek Szewczyk the head of that family. [...] I stayed with them for months but I had to move from place to place often. I hid with them together with my brother and Milka. We lived in a granary there. When we were threatened with discovery, the Szewczyks would wake us up at dawn and we would go and hide in the grain.”

Goldberg died of a heart attack in Bochnia. His son Janek also perished, as a guerilla fighter for the Home Army. After the war, the Szewczyks sporadically contacted Giza who, together with her daughter, emigrated to France. Members of the Federgrön family stayed in Poland, settled in a neighbouring town and maintained close relations with the Szewczyks.

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 Anieli i Franciszka Szewczyków, 349/24/2250