The Wołosiański family

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“I decided to save you and I will do it”. The story of the Wołosiański family

Izydor and Jarosława Wołosiańscy lived during World War II in Drohobych (Lwów Voivodeship, today within the borders of Ukraine). They got involved in helping Jews before theirs wedding. In 1941–1944, they hid 39 people in a hideout in the basement. All of them survived the Holocaust.


Izydor Wołosiański and Jarosława Skolska met in Drohobycz during the days of Nazi occupation. At that time Izydor was working as a technician in a German workshop where Jews worked as well. He was thinking of possibilities to help his friends. Izydor trusted Jarosława and told her about his plans of hiding Jews, whereon she decided to help him. It was mainly Izydor who kept bringing new people into the hideout.

Jarosława used to say that only 6 people were really rescued by her; 6 out of 39 because so many people gathered in the end in the basement underneath Wołosiańskis’ apartment. The hideout was prepared by Izek and his friend Wolf Stock, who was a carpenter. For this reason, it was relatively comfortable, with gas, electricity and water. In the end, however, the basement became very cramped, people lied there in two layers and could stand straight only in one corner.

The life of Jews in the hideout

A hidden door in the floor of Wołosiańskis’ kitchen led to the basement. To avoid a situation that a dog would smell the hiding place during a search of Gestapo, Wołosiańskis spilled pepper over the entrance. It could be opened only from the inside.

The hideout existed for 22 months: Wołosiański started to hide Jews in September 1942 and the liberation came in August 1944.

In the meantime Jarosława got pregnant and in August 1943 their first daughter was born.

Since Jarosława felt responsible not only for her family but also for the hidden people, she decided to give birth at home. From now on Jarosława used the baby carriage with her little daughter to smuggle big amounts of food she needed to buy for the whole group in their house.

Izek was the initiator of the help, whereas Jarosława had the strenght to realize it. While he would scream at night, having nightmares, she stayed calm and brave. However, the incredible pressure led in Jarosławas case to a collapse just after the war. For several months she was afraid to leave her house and was deeply depressed.

Although many dangerous situations occurred during the 22 months of helping, luckily everybody survived the war.

The rescued people describe Jarosława and Izek as wonderful, modest and warm-hearted people. In their memories Izydor was the one waving goodbye on the train station when his Jewish friends left Poland after the war. Many of the survivors kept in touch with Jarosława until her death in 2006, she visited Israel many times. Izydor has never seen his friends again. He died in 1971.

Bibliography

  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009
  • Poznańska Paulina, Miller Wiktoria (koordynacja projektu), Obojętność boli. Scenariusze edukacyjne o Sprawiedliwych Wśród Narodów Świata, Wrocław 2010