Wojciech Basik

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Story of Rescue - Wojciech Basik

The large family of Szczepan and Katarzyna Basik lived in the village of Korbielów Górny near Krzyżowa before the war. The Basiks had eight children: Rudolf (b. 1917), Franciszek, Wojciech, Jan, Józef, Wiktoria, Anna and Maria. During the war Rudolf worked in the local hospital in Żywiec as a supplier, stoker, janitor and gardener. Three siblings, including Wojciech, stayed on Szczepan's farm.

In 1944 a certain Gnaczyński, who was visiting his fiancée in Żywiec, asked Rudolf for help in hiding a fugitive from Auschwitz-Monowitz – one of the sections of Auschwitz-Birkenau – located in the village of Monowice near Oświęcim. The fugitive was a Czech Jew Robert Wolf born in Ołomuniec. On 1 September 1939 he was arrested and exiled as a political prisoner to Buchenwald concentration camp and then to Dachau and Auschwitz. On 15 July 1944 during a march to work, Robert ran away from Monowice.

Gnaczyński left Wolf in the care of Rudolf Basik. His younger brother – Wojciech – agreed to take care of the man. He hid him in his house, in a warehouse in Korbielów Górny and in a forest clearing. He provided him with food, newspapers and news about the situation at the front.

Wojciech Basik was stopped by the police several times. It was suspected that he was hiding someone at his house. At the police station in Krzyżowa he was questioned by a police officer who - as Basik reported in 2003 – "used the butt of his rifle during interrogation, so that as a result my teeth was on the floor; when [Alfred] Ekiet [the commander of the local police station] arrived and let me go, I carefully picked them up to a piece of paper".

In the last weeks before the coming of the Soviet troops, Wolf was placed in the stables, where he lived in a shack made of planks and covered with sheaves of grain. At the beginning of 1945, after the front had passed through the area, Wolf left Korbielów and returned to Prague.

In 1948 he made a statement on the help provided to him by Rudolf and his family. One of the Basik brothers was awarded a medal for bravery by the Czechoslovak government in 1964. In the statement made in 1990 Wojciech Basik wrote that the reason for their actions were "humanitarian motives".

In 1993 the Yad Vashem Institute awarded Wojciech Basik the title of Righteous Among the Nations.