Wegrzynowicz Remigiusz

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Story of Rescue - Wegrzynowicz Remigiusz

Remigiusz Węgrzynowicz came from the Węgrzynowiczów and Pajączkowskich families, from Rawicz and Lubicz, respectively. His father Stanisław (b. 1890 in Gorlice near Krosno, b. December 8th, 1932 in Lviv) was a railroad official. His mother, Maria(b. 1885 in Lviv, d. around 1988 in Wrocław) came from the family of known Lviv gardeners, the Kopeks.

When the war broke out, Remigiusz Węgrzynowicz was living in Lviv and attending the final year of high school. He graduated in 1940, but was forced to abandon his studies and take up work as an orderly at a psychiatric hospital, in the department of calculating payments for the workers. He also worked at the Weigl Institute, where typhus vaccine was being developed.

With the beginning of the Soviet-German war, the restrictions on the number of Poles allowed to pursue higher education were removed, enabling Remigiusz Węgrzynowicz to commence his studies at the Lviv Academy of Veterinary Medicine.

On November 15th, 1942, a medicine student by the name of Tadeusz Słowik, a pre-war acquaintance of Remigiusz Węgrzynowicz, visited him at his mother’s house in Lviv, on ul. Zamknięta. He asked Węgrzynowicz to take in Szarlota Katz, who came to the house with him, and who had managed to escape from the prison on ul. Montelupich in Kraków.
 
The Rescued

Before the war Scharlotta Katz was living in Borysław, a town in the Lviv voivodeship, famous for its –petroleum extraction industry. Her father worked as a shaft assistant, and her mother was a masseuse in the nearby health resort in Truskawiec. Scharlotta worked at a water and oil pumping station.

Her testimony for the Yad Vashem Institute states: “Remigiusz Węgrzynowicz, understanding my tragic situation and the threat to my life, was kind enough to offer to hide me in his one-bedroom apartment.”
Scharlotta (Lotka) moved to the studio apartment at ul. Królowej Jadwigi 24 in Lviv that she shared with Węgrzynowicz and a friend of his, Stanisław Zakrzewski, also a veterinary student. The conditions were far from ideal: a single room with a kitchen, with entrance from the porch and a bathroom shared by two apartments (available only after walking through the porch). She could only leave the house in the evening, under the cover of darkness.
 
Illness

When Lotka fell ill, it was very hard to provide any appropriate care while retaining the necessary degree of hygiene. Great risk was involved in calling a doctor, so out of necessity, they had to “keep her under veterinary care.” Food was hardly sufficient, both due to their limited financial resources and few possibilities of purchasing it.

Round-ups in the streets, searches at homes, and the incessant hunts for hidden Jews were obviously detrimental to the morale. In the interview for the Museum of History of Polish Jews, Remigiusz Węgrzynowicz recounts: “She didn’t go out at all. [That one time] to the movies and to the New Year’s, and apart from that she was at home all the time. That’s right. I’d go to the classes, come back, and we’d sit in there together.”

Cinema and New Year’s

Remigiusz and Lotka gathered the courage and went out to the cinema once or twice. It was safer in the street in the evenings, since the mandatory “verdunklung” (blackout) made recognizing faces in the darkened streets nigh impossible. They left the cinema very soon, since Scharlotta thought someone had recognized her.

They organized the New Year’s Eve party in an empty apartment on ul. Rappaporta (or ul. Jachowicza – Remigiusz Węgrzynowicz is not clear on this), in the back of the prison. The apartment, with a concealed hideout in the bathroom, was prepared by Remigiusz’s brother, Artur Węgrzynowicz, and was to be used by Jews in hiding.

Scharlotta’s later fate

In February 1943, a friend of Tadeusz Słowik, Przemysław Żuławski, came to them to take Scharlotta under his care for the duration of the travel to her next hideout in Podbuż near Borysław, where Tadeusz Słowik had his medical practice.

She remained there until the Soviet forces liberated the town. In 1948 Szarlota married Tadeusz Słowik. They had two daughters. She died in Warsaw in 1992.

Remigiusz Węgrzynowicz recalls: “Tadzio (Tadeusz Słowik) took her, and back then, in Borysław, they were doing in Jews... And none of them remained. So she was the only one rescued. … We didn’t even come back to that later, because I think her family was killed there – so she was the only one who lived.” The war was also survived by her cousins, Ewa and Kendzia, who settled in Haifa after the war.

In 1988 Scharlotta Słowik applied to the Yad Vashem to honor Remigiusz Węgrzynowicz, one of her rescuers.

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Bibliography

  • Stec Monika, Interview with Remigiusz Węgrzynowicz, 23.04.2009
  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009