The story of the Kozak family

My grandparents, Tomasz (1875-1944) and Teresa (1880-1969) Kozak, lived in Dąbrówka Morska (Małopolskie Province) where, during the inter-War period, they ran a farm. My grandfather was also the Sołtys (Village Administrator). They had two sons, Franciszek and Władysław, who were also farmers.

The owners of that locations were the Sterlicht brothers. The elder, Salomon, had two children – Ignacy and Maria, while the younger, Henryk, had three daughters – Sabina, Fryda and Mirunia (?). Salomon became friendly with my grandparents. Our family still remembers howhis wife helped our sick grandmother. She took her to her own doctor, Dr Frenkel in Bochna, and then, over the following month, cared for her at home with the help of her houskeepers.

After the outbreak of World War II, Salomon Sterlicht hid in Barczków. His son, Ignacy had fled to the Soviet Union, while his wife had been shot by the Germans in Szczurowa, where a temporary ghetto had been established. His daughter Maria, together with her fiance, were hiding in Strzelce Małe with the Kazak family.

At that time, using a false name, Henryk managed an estate in the Kraków area, where one of his daughters was also hiding. His wife and the two other daughters were in hiding in Warsaw. They said that they were learning the Catholic relligion in school. The elder was the wife of Mr Schieff, the owner of a shop which sold agricultural machinery, bicycles and other things, on ul. Kościuszki in Bochnia. After the outbreak of the War, he left for Italy and. from there, managed to reach the United States.

In May 1944, when Salomon had run out of funds with which to survive, he came to my parents, Władysław Kozak (1906-1989) and Anna (nee Jurek, 1909-1986), asking for shelter for a few days, when searches were to take place in Barczków. He was extremely exhausted and dirty. My grandmother allowed him to stay in her home for longer, as a sign of gratitude for the past help given to her during her illness. My older sister Helena Majta (nee Kozak, born 1932) recalls that mum burned some of his clothes which were full of lice. She washed and ironed the rest. She gave him some of dad's clothes to wear. At that time, I was two years old.

Salomon stayed in the attic of our stable for six weeks. Until the War ended, his daughter Maria would come to us at night for food. Mum baked bread for her and, together with other food, would leave it on the verandah.

After the War, the Sterlicht family left for Israel. Ignacy, Salomon's son, was a lawyer in Tel Aviv, while his sister Maria was a nurse in a local hospital. Henryk's daughters left later for Great Britain.