Choiński Jan

The whole Choiński family from the village of Szlasy Łopienite, commune Rutki, was involved in helping one person of Jewish origin. It was a man they called “Sheeny”. He probably came from Łomża and his name was Szymon. In many narratives, the surname Kokoszko can be found as well. The man was well known in the village and the residents helped him eagerly. From the spring 1943 he was living in Jan and Anna Choiński’s house. He was a tailor and helped one of hosts’ daughters – Maria – sew and repair clothes. For one year, Sheeny was hiding in a barn in a hideaway under granary. In the summer he moved to the nearby forest and fields.

In March 1944, officers came to the village. They went directly to the barn of the Choiński family. They could not find the Jew, so they threatened that they would burn the whole barn. They beat Jan so heavily with rails pulled out of a cart that he revealed the shelter. Both of them were then transported to Rutki, where the Germans were stationed. Only Jan was punished for hiding Sheeny. His wife Anna and his children: Maria, Józef, Helena, Stanisław, Janina, Natalia, Stefania and Władysław managed to survive. Soon after the seizure they were made to watch Jan bury the hiding Jew alive. There are other sources indicating that Jan refused to do so or was throwing the soil only on his legs. At some point they were made to swap roles, but eventually Jan was taken out of the pit and officers placed Sheeny in the pit once again and killed him. Jan buried his body. Sheeny’s careless behaviour, who used to go behind the barn in the evenings to smoke cigarettes, could be the reason someone reported to the Germans about his shelter.

After some weeks Jan was imprisoned in Łomża and later on he was transported to the concentration camp at Stutthof. One of his daughters wanted to save her father and decided to go to the district administrator in Łomża. She wanted to go to the camp in return for her father’s freedom. She was sent away to the commissioner in Rutki, where they set a dog on her. The members of Choiński family exchanged letters, but Jan never came back home. On the basis of hospital discharge it is known that Jan was still alive on the 18th of August 1944.


1. IPN BU 392/1104.
2. RFWA, audio record, ref. no. 405_2273, the narrative of Stefania Pawelec [daughter], dated 25.10.2013.
3. RFWA, audio record, ref. Jan and Stanisława Choiński, the narrative of Natalia Słowik, dated 05.09.2013.


  • The testimony of Jan Śliwowski from IPN BU 392/1104 indicate that the Germans searched the Choiński family’s house three times. They beat him heavily and made him reveal the Jew’s shelter.

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