The Tracz Family

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Story of Rescue - The Tracz Family

Before the outburst of World War II, the Tracz family lived in Kopyczyńce,which, today lies in Ukraine. Mikołaj Tracz’s entire family lived in an addition to the community center “Sokół”, where Mikołaj worked.

Marian and Michał Chir, the Traczs‘ relatives, worked with doctor Schmetterling and  Mrs. Tejg, a dentist. In 1942, when the Nazis established a ghetto in Kopyczyńce, the Chirs supplied their Jewish friends with food. In 1943 during the ghetto liquidation, on the Schmetterlings’ and Tejgs’ request Marian and Michał decided to convince Mikołaj to hide them on the communitycenter’sland.

Tracz found them shelter in the attic of his house. Seven people hid in what formely was a pigeon loft. “They were supposed to stay for three or four days, but eventually they stayed for ten months, because there was no way for them to leave this place”-  Józefa Czekaj-Tracz recalls. The conditions in the storeroom were very poor. They had to hide the food that the Tracz family gave them from mice and fleas which were a real plague.

Throughout the time in hiding none of the families had the possibility to wash themselves; they did not see the sun. After many years one of the survivors – Miriam Schmetterling related: “We wouldn’t talk normally but we would whisper. After we had left we had to learn how to speak and walk again”.

All the people who were hiding in the pigeon-loft survived the war, and in 1946 they fled from Poland. Arie Schmetterling reestablished contact between the families some years later and they are still in touch today.  

Bibliography

  • Kamiński Łukasz Stopa Zofia, Interview with Józefa Czekaj-Tracz, 1.05.2009
  • Patrycja Gruszyńska-Ruman, Waldemar Kasperczak, Reportaż radiowy pt. "Ludzki Odruch"
  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009
  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, 349, 1199