Story of Rescue - The Wilniewczyc Family | Polscy Sprawiedliwi

The Wilniewczyc Family

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Story of Rescue - The Wilniewczyc Family

Wacław Wilniewczyc, a professional soldier and a commander of 77th Infantry Regiment, lived with his wife Maria and his daughter Anna in Lubliniec, Silesia – the Polish-German borderland. With the War approaching, Maria and Anna left for Zielonka near Warsaw in 1939 to live in their newly-built house. It was supposed to be safer.

Wacław Wilniewczyc joined them in 1940. Under the of pseudonym “Wilni”, he became active in the Polish underground. Persuaded by Władysława Chomsowa, a friend activist from “Żegota” movement from Lwów, the Wilniewczyc family became involved in rescuing Jews in 1942. They continued helping Jews, even after their neighbours had been killed for hiding people of Jewish origin.

“Mrs. Chomsowa, who stayed in Lwów at that time (in 1942), performed rescue operations for Jews living in that city. Since those Jews were known in Lwów, she directed as many of them as possible to other parts of Poland. This is how four families came to us”, recalls  the daughter of the Wilniewczyc, Anna Żmigrodzka,  in an interview for the Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

It was probably summer 1942 when the first people came to Zielonka – two refugees from the Lwów ghetto, aged approximately 50 and 40. The sisters, Róża and Ida Beglaiter, with false identitypapers procured by Chomsowa. After a few weeks spent at the Wilniewczyc’s, the women moved to a neighbouring empty house with the consent of its owner, a lawyer from Warsaw called Skorupko.

Ida, as opposed to her sister, had a “good look” and could therefore go shopping in the village. They both frequently visited Wilniewczyc to talk. If one of the members of the family was sick, Ida, who was a doctor, would treat him. After the War, the sisters went to Israel and settled in Haifa.

Another person, sent by Mrs. Chomsowa, turned up in Zielonka in the autumn of 1942 - Ryszard Szpindler, a former head of the refinery in Drohobycz and Roman, probably Ryszard’s brother. Both came with their families. Wacław Wilniewczyc, with the help of his brother Piotr, rented flats using his own name. As a result, Ryszard Szpindler settled in Warsaw, and Roman in Gołąbki. Their wives and teenage daughters were housed separately. Unfortunately, Ryszard and Roman were arrested and shot dead by Germans in 1943. Their wives and daughters survived the War.

The Wilniewczyc’s also aided the family of Mr.Herman from Lwów. Mr. Herman and his wife were provided with the protection of a gardener from Zielonka. Their daughter was hidden in a cloister.

Accidentally wounded by a Russian bullet, Wacław Wilniewczyc died a day before the outbreak of theWarsaw Uprising. His daughter, Anna, was married in 1950. She has a son and two daughters. Anna worked as a clerk. She lives in Warsaw. She stayed in close contact with the Beglaiter sisters until their death.  

Other Stories of Rescue in the Area

Bibliography

  • Wróblewski Tomasz, Interview with Anna Żmigrodzka, 13.05.2009