Wisnicka Genowefa

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Story of Rescue - Wisnicka Genowefa

Before the war the Błażejczyk family of Żelechów owned a farm, and Stanisław, the father, pursued additional employment as a shoemaker. “Father worked for twelve years in a Jewish workshop. And then they were like acquaintances,” Genowefa recounts.

In 1942, the year the ghettos in the Warsaw district were liquidated, Stanisław Błażejczyk was approached by Pola and Josek (Genowefa cannot recall the latter’s name), his colleagues from the workshop, asking for help.

Mr. Błażejczyk prepared a hideout for them under the floor of the granary: “… the barn was wooden, made of wood. And under the granary - there was this granary for the grain , with a high floor - under the floor they had this place prepared, with a place to sleep, and everything. And they could come out at night, an’ when it was cold, they’d come to the house at night to sleep. An’ then hide again.”

Josek would only leave the hideout under the cover of night. Pola, having the so-called “good looks,” sometimes ventured out to Żelechów. Genowefa Wiśnicka remembers one such occasion: “It was the time of the Easter retreat, so people were going to confession, before the holidays. And she says: ‘I’m going to Żelechów.’ ‘But how’re you gonna go?’ Mom dressed her as a country girl ... she took a prayer book. … She says: ‘I’ll say I’m going to the conferssions.’ ‘Don’t say conferssions, say you’re going to confession! Confession, not conferssions.’ … She was a blond girl, I remember, blond, I don’t think she looked Jewish, she was quite pretty.”

The Rescued were looking at the world through cracks in the wooden walls. “I could always see, I was looking at you, how you were dressing, this and that,” Pola would tell Genowefa Wiśnicka after the years of hiding.

Genowefa and Pola would sew together and make toys for sale. Genowefa’s duties included providing the fugitives with food.

When the Jews were hiding in their hideout, normal farmstead life was going on above their heads. “Well, sometimes there would be some threshing, like we do in the countryside. And we were threshing, and there was such a lot of people,” Genowefa Wiśnicka recounts.

Other fugitives from the nearby ghettos learned about the couple in hiding. One winter, keeping it secret from the Błażejczyks, Pola and Josek took in some fugitives to their hideout. Genowefa Wiśnicka recalls the words of her father when he learned of that secret: “What’s this? The bread’s gone and there’s barley left on the floor.’ An’ he asked them later - but those others were gone. And that time there was so much snow, at first there was none, and then when it got to snowing, all tracks were gone. And he says: ‘Don’t do that,’ he said, ‘you’re … you’re here, then lay low.’ And sometimes that our couple would ask to give them some more tea or more soup. And they wouldn’t say why. And it was for those others! And later when those others left, when the snow was gone, they left right away, we didn’t know where, and those our guys stayed until the end.”

After the war Pola and Josek moved to Żelechów for a time, where they would often receive Janina and Genowefa Błażejczyk. After the Jewish couple left for Israel, they kept writing the Błażejczyks for some time. The contacts ceased in the 1960s, but were renewed in the late 1990s, already after the deaths of Janina and Stanisław Błażejczyk. As a result of that renewal, Genowefa was awarded the title of Righteous Among the Nations.

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Bibliography

  • Zubkowicz Rafał, Interview with Genowefa Wiśnicka, 20.03.2009