Żaczkiewicz Bronisław

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Story of Rescue - Żaczkiewicz Bronisław

Before the war, Bronisław Żaczkiewicz, a railway employee, lived with his parents in Tarnów. The Żaczkiewicz family was on friendly terms with the Jewish family of Sabina and Dawid Freireich who owned a hotel and restaurant at ul. Brodzińskiego 3 and then at ul. Goldhammera. Łucja, their daughter, was the same age as Bronisław. The young people would sometimes meet in a group of friends and spend time together.

At the beginning of September 1939, Łucja was outside of Tarnów. “During the first days of German occupation, I was in Lviv.” After German troops entered Lviv, my parents sent Bronisław Żaczkiewicz, whom I knew, to get me back to Tarnów,” Łucja recalled after the war. Bronisław, taking no heed of the danger, went to Lviv to get the girl and helped her in safely returning to her family house.

On 19 June 1942, the Germans created a ghetto in Tarnów and the Freireichs were ordered to move there. Soon afterwards, Sabina and Dawid asked Bronisław Żaczkiewicz for help. They agreed with him that Łucja would remain on the “Aryan side” at the apartment of his parents at ul. Zielona 7 in Tarnów. Bronisław helped Łucja escape from the ghetto and hide in the basement of his parents’ house. He brought food, clothes, and medicines to her there. After work, he kept her company and lifted her spirit.

Łucja stayed hidden all the time because she had no “Aryan papers” and feared that she might be recognised in her native town and delivered to the Germans. Bronisław would not stop helping her even after threatening letters were delivered to his family house. “When they started receiving anonymous letters accusing them of hiding a Jewish girl at their apartment, Bronisław Żaczkiewicz dug out a hole in the basement in which I could continue hiding. I remained in hiding from April 1942 until January 1945,” Łucja recalled.

Bronisław also helped Jews who were doing forced labour for the railway. He brought them food and clothes. He also smuggled food into the Tarnów ghetto. “Risking his own life, he also helped my sister Donia Freireich who was at the Skarżysko-Kamienna camp, section [werk] C,” Łucja recounted.

Łucja Freireich managed to see the end of German occupation. Łucja and Bronisław married after the end of the war.

Bibliography

  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, Dział odznaczeń Yad Vashem, Dokumentacja sprawy Łucji Freireich-Żaczkiewicz, 349/24/801