The Weglowski Family

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Story of Rescue - The Weglowski Family

The brothers Florian and Franciszek Węgłowski lived, with their families, in separate buildings on the same farm in the village of Stara Huta in the Wołyn Province. Jankiel Weksler rented a part of Florian’s home. Weksler came from nearby Ludwipol (now Sosnove), but worked in Stara Huta. The families were on friendly terms.

The Germans occupied Wołyń in 1941. In August, they established a ghetto in Ludwipol, into which the Weksler family were moved: Józef and Rachela with their baby (according to other accounts, Rachela had two children), as well as Jankiel (Józef’s brother), with his wife Chana and daughter Mira. Florian’s son, Stanisław, helped them by smuggling food and clothes in the ghetto. During the ghetto liquidation in August 1942, Stanisław helped them to escape into the “Aryan side”. Jankiel Weksler was the only one not to escape from within the ghetto walls. He was shot and died.

Two Jewish familes hid with the Węgłowski family – in farm buildings and in hiding places in the field, sometimes in the house. Shortly afterwards, others joined those in hiding  - two children, Izajasz and Cywia – Józef’s nephews. According to Stanisław Węgłowski, that same night, around ten familes also came, whom Stanisław took to safety into the forest and to whom he supplied food.

The Węgłowski family survived two searches. Helena Szachniewicz, in an interview with the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, recalls the hunt in April 1943, “The Jewish woman, Chana with her daughter, Mira, stayed the night with us. My father (...) returned home saying that the Germans had entered the village. He said whoever could, should run away. The brother and older sister fled. That Jewish woman and her daughter began to run away. All of them fled into the path of the Germans. The Germans screamed out Halt!.  She pretended that she hadn’t heard and turned back a little. On the other side, there were two Orthodox homes right by the forest. And she pretended that she was headed for those homes. […] She managed to escape. If they had caught her, then the whole village would have gone […] they’d have picked us off. In that way, we simply escaped being shot”.

The Węgłowski family then led the Weksler family to safety. They built a cabin for them in the village of Lewacze, in the forest belonging to the Ruddnicki family – and continued bringing them food. Rachel’s daughter did not survive the War. She became sick and died in 1943. Chana and Mira left for Brazil. Rachela and her family went to Canada. The Węgłowski family were repatriated to the Iława region. The families remain in contact.

Bibliography

  • Archiwum Yad Vashem
  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009
  • Grzybek Marcin, Interview with Stanisław Węgłowski, 15.04.2009
  • Grzybek Marcin, Interview with Helena Szachniewicz, 26.02.2009