The Tarasiewicz Family

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Story of Rescue - The Tarasiewicz Family

His family hid two Jews, who they did not know, from May 1943 until July 1944. They lived in Michałów, close to Dukszty, in the Wilno region. The father was a policeman and for his merits earned during the war in 1920 he received a farm.

Lejzor Lewiatan and his cousin Tewie Szołomiak initially planned to stay with them for six weeks. They were afraid that after that time Mieczysław’s father would make them leave.

“Because why should he keep us?" - they recalled years later. - We didn’t pay him, and he put himself and his family at risk. But the farmer came and said: ‘If they are going to hang someone, then let them hang us all. You will stay here till the end!’ We thought it was a dream. But no, next to us this farmer is standing, weeping: ‘It is here, with me, that you will await liberation.’”

After the war, his father, Hieronim Tarasewicz, was taken to Siberia. He returned after 1956, and his family repatriated to Kętrzyn. The two men who were saved went to Israel and worked to get the whole family a tree for the Righteous in Jerusalem.

“When father returned from Israel - explains Mieczysław - the people in Kętrzyn called him a Jewish king. And they said that we didn’t hide Jews for free, but for money. But we didn’t take anything, not even a penny.”

In March of 2006 the Tarasiewicz family received a visit from Lewiatan’s son. He wrote: “It took me a long time to find the Tarasiewicz family. From the day that I met them I felt as though I had found long-lost siblings. The warmth with which they welcomed me allowed me to feel as though I was home. I returned a changed person.”

Other Stories of Rescue in the Area

Bibliography

  • Szymczak Agnieszka, Interview with Mieczysław Tarasewicz, 1.01.2008
  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009