Story of rescue

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The story of Władysław and Apolonia Kozak

Before the War, the Jewish Feigenbaum family lived in the village of Swoszowa, near brickworks, and were neighbours of the Kozak family. In May 1942, the Feigenbaum family (Pinchas Elimelech, his wife and three younger children) were moved into the ghetto in nearby Biecz. After remaining there for a short while, the family secretly returned to Swoszowa and were hidden by their former neighbours, the siblings Apolonia and Władysław Kozak. In July 1942, other members of their family joined them in that hiding place – their two older sons who had escaped from the labour camp in Prokocim (Julag II).

The Feigenbaum family stayed at the farm until the end of 1943. Rumour then began spreading around the area that the Kozaks were hiding Jews. Those in hiding had to move to the forest. The Kozaks, however, continued to support the Jewish family, taking food and warm clothing to them and warning them of any impending dangers.

Rabbi Biecza Beer Dov Halpern, and his two youngest children, also hid themselves on the Kozak farm for a short period.

On 16th June 1944, local antisemites murdered Władysław Kozak for helping Jews. Despite that tragedy, Apolonia and her daughter continued taking food to the Jewish escapees until the end of the War.

After the War, the Fejgenbaum family left for Israel. They maintained contact with the Kozak family, helping them with small amounts of money and visiting them in Poland. At their initiative, in 1989, Apolonia and Władysław Kozak were honoured with the title of Righteous Among the Nations.

Bibliography

  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009
  • Rivka Feigenbaum, The Scarlet Thread: The Amazing Story of a Family's Rescue from the Conflagration in Poland, Jerusalem: Feldheim 2001