Jan Jantoń

The Jantoń family lived in the village of Wola Brzostecka, in the Brzostek commune. Jan and Bronisława were helping the Jewish Fisch family, risking their lives and the lives of their children aged 4-10. Initially, the Jewish family was hiding in a forest in Opacionka, where they made a hut out of sticks. They sold all of their belongings in order to survive. When they ran out of money, they had to count on good and brave people’s help. In the summer of 1942, Mr and Mrs Jantoń took the Jews in.

After three months of hiding the Jews – out of fear of an unexpected raid by the Germans – Jan and Bronisława helped the Fisch family move to a dugout in the forest that was situated about a kilometer from their house. The Jantoń family provided them with food. They did not expect any financial remuneration. Their daughter, Janina Funda, recalls that together with her father she used to go to the forest and bring the Jews food. On the 8th of December 1942, she was to go there with him at about 8 am. The Germans, who probably found out about the hideaway as the result of a denunciation, observed Jan giving food to the Jewish family. The Germans then threw a grenade into the shelter. Here are the names of casualties: Sara, Hena Fisch (62) and her children – Mojżesz (33), Feiga (37), Rojza (35), Ruchla (41) as well as her daughter Ester (8). Jan was executed by a shot to his head. The daughter describes the situation in the following way: “One of the Germans took my hand. He did not want to waste a cartridge, so he threw me on the ground, on my father’s body. And then they left.” [RFWA, Jantoń, audio record, ref. no. 811_2700, the narrative of Janina Funda [daughter, eyewitness], dated 08.12.2014]. Residents, who were forced by the Germans to bury the bodies, took the girl aside, where she regained consciousness. She managed to survive the difficult times of the occupation.

Concerned, Bronisława left home at about 11 am together with her neighbour to check what had happened. Before, she had heard gunshots in the forest – a very worrying sign. She noticed Germans near the hideout. When they left, she came closer. People, who came were burying the bodies. Her husband was lying right next to the other bodies. The next day, Bronisława went to the Germans who were living in Brzostek near the main road and church. It was probably them who conducted this mass execution. The woman asked them to let her transport the bodies to a cemetery. Then, one of the Germans hit her in the head and threw her out. Everybody was buried in a collective grave and their bodies rest there to this day. On the 11th of September 2012, a monument commemorating the victims was unveiled. During the ceremony, the prayers in Hebrew and Polish were said by the ambassador of Israel – Michael Schudrich – and a prelate doctor Jan Cebulak – the parish priest in Brzostek. The representatives of the Józef Jantoń family and Fisch family were also present. On the 3rd of September 1992, the Yad Vashem Institute awarded Jan and his wife Bronisława the title of the Righteous Among the Nations.

In the neighbouring village – Opacionka – Maria Jałowiec was another person who helped Jews. In the years 1942-1944, she hid two Jewish women in her barn and was also providing them with food. One of them – Ryfka Reiss – survived the times of the occupation. After war she got in touch with Maria Jałowiec.


1. RFWA, a letter from Wioletta Kurek [great-granddaughter].
2. RFWA, a letter from Krystyna Szarek-Ryndak.
3. RFWA, Jantoń, audio record, ref. no. Jałowiec Maria, Jantoń Jan, the narrative of Maria Ziarska, dated 2.09.2013.
4. RFWA, Jantoń, audio record, ref. no. 811_2700, the narrative of Janina Funda [daughter, eyewitness], dated 8.12.2014.
5. Gutman I. et al. (Ed.), 2009, The List of Righteous Among the Nation, Poland part. 1, Kraków, p. 247-248.
6. Walczak R. (Ed.), 1997, Those Who Helped. Polish Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust, part 3, Warszawa, p. 73.
7. http://www.sprawiedliwi.org.pl/pl/cms/archiwum-aktualnosci/843,wola-brzostecka-odslonieto-pomnik-ku-czci-zamordowanych-zydow-i-polaka-ktory-udzielal-im-pomocy/ (27.04.2015).
8. http://www.fpkt.org.pl/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=133%3Awola-brzostecka-11-wrzenia-2012-r-&catid=4%3Astrona-gowna&lang=pl (25.11.2014).


  • Walczak R. (Ed.), 1997, Those Who Helped. Polish Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust, part 3, Warszawa, p. 73 gives incorrect age and name of the Fisch family members: Henia (60), Baily (23), Rosa (26), Ester (28), Moses (30). The author also mentions Baily’s child, but there is no information about the child’s age.

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