The Wilkosz Family

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Story of Rescue - The Wilkosz Family

The Wilkosz lived in the village of Grobla, near Kraków, where they ran a farm. In early 1941, they were contacted by a Jewish tailor from Kraków, Herman Silwerman, who wanted to hide his family in the village.

The Silwerman family rented a room in the Wilkosz home. They lived there openly until the time that the Germans ordered all the Jews of Grobla and surroundings to move to a ghetto set up in nearby Nowy Brzesk. All the time, they maintained contact with their former hosts on the farm.

In the summer of 1943, news spread around the Nowy Brzesk ghetto about its liquidation. The Silwerman family escaped. They returned to the Wilkosz family – this time, at night and in secret.

Wilkosz-Filo recalls their return, “I think that no one thought that it would be for long, that it would last eighteen months”. Herman Silwerman, his wife, two daughters (Hanna and Nina), his mother-in-law and her second daughter remained with the Wilkosz family until the end of the War.

According to Stefania Wilkosz-Filo, “In the summertime, they [those in hiding] stayed with us in the residential part of the house, and in the wintertime, due to the fact that the windows misted up, someone could conclude that that part of the house was occupied. So we arranged a hiding place for them in the attic (...) behind a partition wall”.

They were poor. “In the beginning, when they still had some financial reserves, they covered some of the costs of their upkeep. But after these were exhausted, they were completely supported by our family,” add Stefania.

After the War, the Jews returned to their home city of Kraków. In the 1960’s, Hanna and her husband emigrated to France, while Nina and her husband left for Israel. They maintained constant contact with Stefania Wilkosz-Filo, who visited Hanna in France many times on vacation. After 1989, Hanna would visit Kraków annually – the city of her youth.

Other Stories of Rescue in the Area

Bibliography

  • Okuniewska Elżbieta, Interview with Stefania Wilkosz-Filo, 28.02.2009
  • Grynberg Michał, Księga Sprawiedliwych, Warszawa 1993

    The lexicon includes the stories of Poles honoured with the title of Righteous Among the Nations in the years 1963-1989. The list of entries is preceded by a preface by Icchak Arad and Chaim CheferThe Righteous of the World.

  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009