The Trzciński Family

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The story of the Trzciński family

Gabriela Gorzandt  née Trzcińska lived with her parents Wisława and Paweł Trzciński in Biłgoraj. She recounts how in the Fall of 1942, from her windows, she saw the Nazis rounding up Jews in the city square to transport them to the ghetto, and to the death camp in Bełżec.

Gabriela’s father got a permit for purchasing and supplying raw hide. He hired Jews to work for him. Although the Nazis wanted him to fire them, he refused to do so, so as to save their lives. In the warehouse, some Jews built a hiding place behind a double wall without the owner’s knowledge. There lived two families, one of them - the Kandels. There was also a little child among those who were hiding there. His parents asked the Trzciński family to hide the child somewhere in the house. The Trzcińskis refused because they had many guests who used to come to listen to the news from the illegally owned radio, and some illegal meetings were also held there.

Daily, Gabriela’s mother brought one large pot of hot porridge for the Jews who were hiding. One day, a Gestapo agent came into the warehouse, heard voices and crying, and discovered the hiding place. Another version of this story is that the Nazis got to know about the hideout from a rival businessman envious of the purchase permit.

On February 17, 1943 the Nazis arrested her parents. Gabriela Gorzandt managed to escape. She was able to hide with acquaintances. After a week she fled to Lublin and later, fearing arrest, she moved to Warsaw. There she learned that her parents were shot to death on March 2, 1943, after being horribly tortured. After the war, she moved back to Biłgoraj. In 2007 she was awarded “The Melania and Jan Mikulski Award for Tolerance and Courage.”

Prepared based on the relation, recorded in the framework of the project "Lights In The Darkness - The Righteous Among The Nations", courtesy of the “Grodzka Gate – NN Theatre” Centre in Lublin   


  • Kawa Magdalena, Interview with Gabriela Gorzandt, a daughter of Wiesława and Paweł Trzcińscy, 10.09.2007