Pankiewicz Tadeusz

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The Story of Tadeusz Pankiewicz

Tadeusz Pankiewicz was born in Cracow, where his father was a pharmacist. After graduation from the gymnasium in Podgórze, Pankiewicz studied pharmacy at the Jagiellonian University. He owned a pharmacy “Apteka pod Orłem” at the Zgody Square in Podgórze in Cracow.

In spring 1941, after the ghetto in Cracow had been established, the Pankiewicz's pharmacy found itself within the closed district. Having bribed the Germans, he obtained their consent to stay in the ghetto and engaged himself in helping its inhabitants.

Pankiewicz provided many people coming to the pharmacy with medications, often refusing to take the money. The pharmacy was a point of contact for many Jews, whom he helped to obtain false papers and hiding places on the so-called “Aryan side”. Pankiewicz's place was also a place where doctors from the ghetto used to meet – they were able to read underground press there and communicate information to members of their families hiding outside the ghetto.

Pankiewicz was an intermediary between the Jews and the Poles with whom the inhabitants of the ghetto left their valuables for safekeeping. During one of the actions, he hid in the pharmacy doctor Abraham Mirowski and Irena Cynowicz (nee Halpern), whom he had previously given medicines for ill mother. He hid Irena under the counter and covered her with his own body.

He made his German acquaintances drunk in order to learn about actions planned in the ghetto. After that, he warned the Jews he knew of such actions, who in turn tried to leave the ghetto on time or hide in its territory. He was in immediate danger when he was taken to the Zgody Square. He managed to convince the Germans at the last moment that he was not a Jew. After the camp in Płaszów had been established, he supplied medicines and food there.

After the end of the war, he took care of his schoolmate, Dr. Ignacy Pancewicz, who returned to Cracow from the Soviet Union.

Dr. Mirowski in his report underlined that Pankiewicz “living among us, was continuously exposed to dangers, but it did not make him scared. He was full of sympathy for our tragedy and wanted to help us with all his heart. Each death of a man or a woman was a traumatic experience for him”.

In 1947, he published his memoirs from the year of occupation entitled Apteka w getcie krakowskim. After the war, Pankiewicz continued working at his pharmacy until 1953, and then, at the pharmacy on 29 Listopada Street. In 1957, he visited Israel as a guest of the Cracow Jews who remembered his attitude during the war.

In 1983, the Yad Vashem Institute awarded Tadeusz Pankiewicz the title of the Righteous Among the Nations.

Bibliography

  • Pankiewicz Tadeusz, Apteka w getcie krakowskim, Kraków 2003
    The author, Pole, was the owner of the pharmacy in the ghetto; he helped many Jews.
  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, 349, 2061