Story of rescue

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"We ran the household together” the Story of the Skroczyński Family

During World War II, Wilhelmina Skroczyńska (nee Reznik), a widow, lived with her two children - Stefan and Maria - in the Warsaw suburb of Żoliborz, at ulica Mickiewicza 25. She extended help to many Jews, who found refuge in her apartment.


Wilhelmina worked at the Social Security Office. She belonged to the counter-intelligence of the Government Delegation of the Republic of Poland to the Country - as part her duties, she participated in the "buying out" of prisoners from Pawiak. She provided food to Soviet prisoners-of-war in the camp near Małkinia. At the same time, with the help of her own children (her daughter was a high school student who studied secretly), she helped Jews who were in hiding on the "Aryan side".

[…] We ran the household with those people who couldn't go outside. […] We arranged documents and other matters for those people. When the need arose, we moved them to a safe place. (We were both in the resistance movement of the Home Army). 

– wrote Maria Skroczyńska-Miklaszewska after the War. 

Until the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising, in which Stefan perished and Wilhelmina and Maria were evacuated from the city, Janina Reizin (nee Szereszewska), Janek Kaczyński-Gazit, the Wyszewiański family, Barbara Baumgarten, Eugenia Chwatowa and Michał Ruszczyc remained at Mickiewicza for shorter or longer periods, as needs required, .

Jews Rescued by the Skroczyński Family  

Janina Reizin, aged about twenty two, lived for many months with the Skroczyński family. In September 1944, together with the Skroczyński women, she found herself in the Pruszków transit camp from where, thanks to Wilhelmina's efforts, she went to stay with farmers in the village of Miechowskie. After the War, she left for Great Britain.

The Skroczyński family found a twelve-year-old, exhausted Janek at their doorstep during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The boy cam back there several times. In the end, he remained in Żoliborz, with a friend of Wilhelmina's. He left Warsaw together with the Skroczyński family. After the War, he settled in Israel.

The Wyszewiański family - Maksymilian and Bella, together with their sons Samuel and Leon, hid at Mickiewicza. According to Maria:

They left Warsaw with us. We were separated at the Pruszków camp. After staying a few months with us, the son Samuel was place by my mother in Choszczówiece, near Warsaw, where he remained until the end of the War. Together with his former carer, now his wife, he lives in Mexico. The other son, Leon, hid with us for around one year (1942–1943), after which he was placed in a neighbouring home at No.27 (with the Baranowski family). He was murdered by the Gestapo due to an unintentional slip by those in the household. It had nothing to do with his ethnic origins.

The Wyszewiański couple emigrated to America.

Others stayed with us for short periods - for a few days or weeks - until we could find somewhere permanent for them. […] We were not blackmailed. I also had an order from Home Army authorities to notify them of any attempt to blackmail either us or those in our care..

Barbara Baumgarten, around forty-years-old, hid for different periods - a couple of weeks or months. She was at Mickiewicza when the Warsaw Uprising broke out. She also left the city with the Skroczyński family. She died in the 1970's in Warsaw.

Eugenia Chwatowa, around 42-years-old, moved around the city quite freeley. During 1940 and 1942, she stayed in Żoliborz from time to time. She died in the 1950's in Warsaw.

The Honouring of the Skroczyński Family

On 4th June 1985, the Yad Vashem Institute in Jerusalem honoured the Skroczyński family with the title of Righteous Among thye Nations. Maria planted a tree in Yad Vashem's Garden of the Righteous. Wilhelmina and Stefan were honoured posthumously.

Other Stories of Rescue in the Area

Bibliography

  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego w Warszawie, Dział Dokumentacji Odznaczeń Yad Vashem, 349/24/685