The Zajaczkowski Family
Story of Rescue - The Zajaczkowski Family
Ryszard was a 16-year-old boy when the war broke out. At that time he lived in Włodzimierz Wołyński, which is now located in Ukraine.
During the Russian occupation, he had to work as a baker to support his family. His brother was caught by the Soviet border guards and transported to the Soviet Union; he died soon after his return to Poland, and he is buried in Zakopane, in a Jesuits’ tomb, as he was studying theology and willing to become a priest.
One day, at the request of a priest, the Zajączkowskis took Irena Franciak and her five-year-old daughter Ania. Ryszard recalls that it was only after some time that he realized the women were Jewish, because of the kind of syntax, used once by Irena. He helped Irena get a job. Pretending to be a Catholic, Irena went to church like all Poles.
After the liberation, Irena and her daughter came back to Lviv, and then went abroad. For some time, they kept in touch with Ryszard's mother. Ryszard mentions that the Zajączkowski family realized the danger they were in sheltering this family but Ryszard says that turning them down would have been inhuman. Ryszard also states that Janina Zajączkowski's family also helped Jews. At her family's house, eight people were hiding, all of whom survived.