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Balbina Bielawska, Władysława Gądek, Jan Gądek, Franciszek Książek, Julia Książek, Jan Książek, Zygmunt Książek, Nowak (father), Nowak (daughter), Anna Kucharska, Bolesław Kucharski, Józef Kucharski, Mieczysław Kucharski, Stefan Kucharski, Julianna Ostrowska


At the end of January 1943, German officers searched the village of Wierzbica in the Miechowski district. Many people tried to hide from them. The Germans caught Jews who were fleeing from the village. Officers caught the Wandelsman family including the mother, father, their son and son-in-law Naftul. Paweł Wandelsman and Róża Naftul, who were trying to flee, were shot in a field.


On the 29th of January 1943, German officers came to Wierzbica again. They were going by sleigh from their station in Kozłów. They came together with Naftul who was told to indicate the hosts who were hiding Jewish families. First he named the Książek family. It turned out that this family was “hiding a whole Jewish family with children. At the beginning they were hiding them in their house” (RFWA, Książek, audio record, ref. no. 811_0927, the narrative of Ewa Gondek, dated 12.02.2014). The next hideout was a barn. During the search German officers found a Jewish marriage taking place at Książek’s farm. Everybody was taken outside and executed. Apart from the Jews, the German officers also killed Franciszek Książek (father of the family, 50), Julia (mother, 40), Jan (son, 21) and Zygmunt (son, 18).


Afterwards, the German officers went to the Nowak family who lived in Wierzbica as well. When they got there, they found a man of Jewish origin who came from the Wandelsman family. Nowak, his five-year-old daughter, and the Jew were executed on the spot.


Another family indicated by Naftul was the Kucharski family who had a small farm in Wierzbica. Izydor Kucharski and his wife Anna had six sons. The eldest one – Stanisław – was deported to a forced labour camp in Germany in 1940. The names of the other sons were as follows: Mieczysław (15), Bronisław (12), Bolesław (9) and twins Józef and Stefan (7). Anna’s mother – Julianna Ostrowska (86) – was also living with the family. After Naftul had said that he had been hiding in their house for six weeks, German officers took Julianna, Anna and Izydor out of the house. They made them stand against the wall and shot them. “After that, one of the officers took all the children out to the place of our parents’ execution and another one shot each of us, one after another.” (IPN BU 392/1365) – this is the narrative of Bronisław who managed to survive despite having been shot in his left temple. Because of this injury he lost his sight. Izydor – Bronisław’s father – managed to survive as well, but lost sight in his right eye.


After the search in Wierzbica, officers went to Narta (a hamlet near Wolica village). They stopped in front of Balbina Bielawska’s house (née Kurek, daughter of Franciszek and Józefa, about 50 years old). Some people tried to flee, including her son-in-law – Jan Gądek (about 30). The Germans ordered Władysława, Jan’s wife who was pregnant at that time, to bring him back. When she did what she had been told the officers arrested her and her husband and took them to Bielawska’s house. “Just before the officers and the captured couple entered Bielawska’s house, she was executed. Entering the hallway, they shot Władysława Gądek and her husband Jan Gądek was shot in the yard in front of the house” ((IPN BU 392/1365).


Władysława Gądek (about 30) was the daughter of Balbina Bielawska. Together with her husband Jan she was hiding the Wandelsman family of Jewish origin. “During the day the Jews were sitting in a cellar where potatoes were stored. The cellar was located in the hallway of the Gądek family’s house.” (IPN BU 392/1365). Jan had been warned many times that he should not help Jews. However the Wandelsman family were possibly his old, close friends. They had probably been living in Wierzbica for a long time and did not want to go to the ghetto.


Another village that the Germans and Naftul were heading for was Bryzdzyn. On the way they took Stanisław Tochowic – a butcher from Narta. Fortunately, nobody died in Bryzdzyn. However, the German officers stopped in Żabieniec village on their way back to the station in Kozłów where they shot Naftul and Stanisław Tochowic.


Bibliografia:

1. IPN BU 392/1365.
2. IPN BU 392/2035.
3. RFWA, Gądek, e-mail from Urszula Lis.
4. RFWA, Książek, audio record, ref. no. 811_0927, the narrative of Ewa Gondek, dated 12.02.2014.
5. RFWA, a letter from Stefan Grabowski, Białystok, 18.03.2014.
6. Bartoszewski W., Lewinówna Z., 2007, Ten jest z Ojczyzny mojej. Wspomnienia z lat 1939–1945, third edition, Warszawa, p. 613, 616.
7. Bielawski W., 1981, Zbrodnie na Polakach dokonane przez hitlerowców za pomoc udzielaną Żydom, Warszawa, p. 16, 27, 39, 48, 50.
8. Datner S., 1968, Las sprawiedliwych. Karta z dziejów ratownictwa Żydów w okupowanej Polsce, Warszawa, p. 91-92.
9. Hera J., 2014, Polacy ratujący Żydów. Słownik, Warszawa, p. 278-279.
10. Poray A. (Ed.), 2007, Those Who Risked Their Lives, Chicago, p. 33, 40.
11. Walczak R. (Ed.), 1997, Those Who Helped. Polish Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust, part 3, Warszawa, p. 84-85, 98, 101.
12. Wroński S., Zwolak M., 1971, Polacy-Żydzi 1939–1945, Warszawa, p. 413.
13. Zajączkowski W., 1988, Martyrs of Charity, Washington D.C., p. 194, 264.
14. Dziarmaga A., 2014, Skąd się brała ich odwaga, „Niedziela”, issue 14, p. 1, 6, www.niedziela.pl (22.04.2015).
15. http://grobywojenne.malopolska.uw.gov.pl/pl-PL/Home/Obiekt/2031 (27.11.2014).
16. http://www.savingjews.org/perished/n.htm (29.05.2015).

Uwagi:

  • According to Piotr Karcz (IPN BU 392/1365), the Jew who indicated the hosts was Paweł Wandelsman.
  • According to some sources, hiding Jews’ surname was Wandersman.
  • According to Hera J., 2014, Polacy ratujący Żydów. Słownik, Warszawa, p. 278-279 the name of Książek father was Piotr.
  • According to some sources Nowak’s daughter could be 2 or 3 years old and the Jew who was found at Nowak’s house was named Retigier.
  • According to Hera J., 2014, Polacy ratujący Żydów. Słownik, Warszawa, p. 278-279 the names of Kucharski’s family members were as follows: Bronisław, Maria, Zygmunt and Bogusława; Datner S., 1968, Las sprawiedliwych. Karta z dziejów ratownictwa Żydów w okupowanej Polsce, Warszawa, p. 91-92 claims that Bronisław and his 5 sons (Bronisław, Izydor, Mieczysław, Stefan and Zygmunt) were executed.
  • According to Bielawski W., 1981, Zbrodnie na Polakach dokonane przez hitlerowców za pomoc udzielaną Żydom, Warszawa and Zajączkowski W., 1988, Martyrs of Charity, Washington D.C. Balbina Bielawska’s husband – Stanisław – was executed with her.
  • According to Bielawski W., 1981, Zbrodnie na Polakach dokonane przez hitlerowców za pomoc udzielaną Żydom, Warszawa and Zajączkowski W., 1988, Martyrs of Charity, Washington D.C. Bielawska and Gądek were living in Norty village. However the name refers to the hamlet near Wolica village. The commune office in Kozłów confirms that Norty has never existed as a separate village.
  • Dziarmaga A. uses the surname “Gondek”.

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