Searching for Rózia

This story, sent to the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews by Danuta Kinaszewska, is about help extended to a Jewish family by her grandparents, Jan and Agata Klim, in Wola Zabierzowska (Małopolskie Province) in 1943 or 1944. By that time, the nearest ghetto in Niepołomice no longer existed. In August 1942, around two thousand local Jews, as well as those displaced from Kraków, were depored to Wieliczki. Some, the old and the sick, were shot by the Germans in the forest on "Kozich Górkach". On 27th August 1942, the remaining Jews were transported to the Nazi extermination camp in Bełżec. Only two Jews survived - Moniek Warmann and Adam Katz.

The year was 1943 or 1944. My grandparents, Jan and Agata Klim, with their daughter Janina (my mother), lived in the village of Wola Zabierzowska, 10 kms from the town of Niepołomice, the site of a beautiful castle known as the "Mały Wawel”. The village was poor and, under German occupation, life was hard for its inhabitants.

My grandparents made their living from a small farm. Something was always growing in the field, but they could not breed livestock, e.g. pigs. Everything had to be given over to the Germans. 

Despite those difficulties, they decided to help a Jewish couple and their three-year-old daughter, Rózia. She was the same age as Janina. Her father gave my grandfather money to buy food. However, Rózia sulked and did not want to eat. 

The family hid in a tiny cibby-hole with a window the size of a hand. The entrance was covered by a wardrobe.

One night, Germans burst into the house. They put their rifles against the temples of my awakened and terrified grandparents. In immense fear and stress, they began praying fervently. The Germans searched the house. Janina was crying. However, the Germans did not find the hiding-place, but perhaps - what is more probable - they did not want to find it. 

Following this incident, the Jewish family left my grandparents' house. One day, they just found that the wardrobe had been moved and the cubby-hole was empty.

However, this was not the end of the help extended. Several times, under cover of night, the father would come to my grandparents' home. He told them that they were living in a small dugout behind the Wisła River - that how the other side of the river was called. It was hard for them as their money had run out. Rózia ate whatever they had, even the hard black bread.

My grandparents continued to help them as much as they could, mainly providing them with food and clothes. There came a time when Rózia's father's appearance became suspect and he did not come again.

Did they survive the War? We do not know what later happened to that family. We don't know the parents' first names or the family's surname. All we know is the name of their daughter - Rózia.