The Story of a Certain Registration

The virtual exhibition "A Good Address - the Story of Hiding Jews in occupied Warsaw”, prepared by the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, prompted me to decide to tell the story of my family and to indicate an address in Warsaw which, to date, has not been known as a site in which Jews were in hiding.

During World War II, my parents, Antoni Przybył (1900-1955) and Czesława nee Zamiewicz (1910-2000) owned a two-storey home at ul. Oksywska 15 in the Warsaw suburb of Marymont. They moved there in September 1941. At that time, my brother Zenon was eight-years-old. I was born four months later. My father had returned from Soviet captivity one year earlier. My mother was a trader.

My parents rented out several small apartments inside the house. One of them was rented to the Wilkos family - Jan (1910-1978 - ed.), Ewa nee Miller (1907-1994 - ed.) and their daughters Zofia (born 1938) and Krystyna (born 1940). They had moved to ul. Oksywska from ul. Karolkowa 84 and lived in No.2, a one-room apartment in the basement. On 17th November 1941, they were registered in the Domowej książki meldunkowej (Home Registration Book). In documents preserved to this day, under "Religion", "Rz. kat” [Roman Catholic -red.] is written, while, under "Notes", next to the names of Zofia and Krystyna, the following was noted: "Supplementation to headings 4, 6 and 7 [ocupation, religion, nationality] based on Birth Certificate No.402 [and 403] of the Parish of St. Wojciech, issued on 6.10.1941 Warsaw”.

My parents knew about the Jewish origins of the Wilkos family but, thanks to false documents, the family did not have to hide. They moved freely about the house. Zofia and Krystyna were a little older than me so that, under the care of our parents, we spent time together in the garden.

After several months, probably following the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, neighbours began to say out loud that "Jews are hiding at No.15”. So as to avoid any danger, my father asked Jan Wilkos to find another apartment. As the Domowa książka meldunkowa indicates, on 15th July 1943, they moved to nearby ul. Kamedułów 49 [today ul. Gwiaździsta - ed.]. Perhaps that moved saved their lives and ours. Contact with them ceased.

Following the end of the Warsaw Uprising, the Germans burned our house and sent its resident to the transit camp in Pruszków. Thanks to my father's involvement with the Home Army, we managed to escape to Gołąbek (at the time, near Warsaw) and we remained there until the War ended.

When, in 1948, my father was released from army service and returned to Warsaw, by chance, he met the Wilkos family in the street. Even though I do not know the details of their conversation or what happened to them after they moved out of our house, one thing today is certain - the whole family survived the War. I hope that they have succeeded in life. After all, we once lived together at a "good address".