The Zaleski Family

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Story of Rescue - The Zaleski Family

Józefa Zaleska and Jolek-Joel Reznik had been classmates at a junior high school in Drohiczyn. In 1941 Jolek’s parents asked the Zaleskis to find shelter for themselves and their daughter; the three of them stayed with the family until the end of the occupation, while Jolek and his wife hid with the Wuińskis, relatives of the Zaleskis.

On some evenings, the Jews hidden in the vicinity of the town would meet in the far reaches of the Zaleskis’ orchard, taking care not be seen by any of the neighbours. The fugitives were a group bound by a shared secret, a community inside a community.

The Rezniks felt quite at ease at the Zaleskis’ house, but they had to watch out for German search parties. One such raid came completely unexpectedly, when only Józefa and the fugitives were in the house. Luckily the drunken soldier didn’t spot the Jewish family, who all managed to reach the hideout in the nick of time.

Józefa will still not disclose the location of the hideout.

“You shouldn’t even write about that, shouldn’t even write.”

She is the only one left to tell the story.

“There’s just me left out of all the family, which is supposed to be good, because I’m the witness.”

After the war, Herszko and Belona Reznik and their daughter left for the US. Jolek-Joel Reznik moved to Israel.

Bibliography

  • Knozowska Joanna, Interview with Józefa Zaleska, 31.01.2009
  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009