|Franciszek Antczak built a bunker on his sister’s farm in the village of Nacpolsk, near Płońsk, where they hid two Jewish men, Mosze Kuperman and Józef Lewin. His widowed sister, Zofia Szkop, was assisted by her children. Kuperman was captured by the Germans in March 1944 when he left the bunker. Following an interrogation by the Gestapo, he led them to the hideout. All of the adult members of the family who had given refuge to the Jews were arrested. Franciszek Antczak was sent to a concentration camp from which he never returned. Kazimierz Szkop, Zofia’s son, received a death sentence and was executed in prison. Zofia Antczak was sentenced to three months omprisonment. Kuperman was shot to death while trying to escape, while Lewin was fortunate to flee from the Gestapo and survived.199 A group of Jews dug pits and bunkers connected by tunnels deep in the field belonging to a peasant woman by the name of Smoleski(?), near the village of Jastków northwest of Lublin. The woman, who had two sons, brought food to the Jews. A Jewish girl by the name of Slawa, said to be insane from typhus, left the bunker and ran to the Germans and disclosed the hideout. The Lublin military police was dispatched and killed the peasant woman and one of her two sons (the other, fortunately, was not at home) and burned down her house. The Jews managed to escape.200 A Jewish escapee from the Płońsk ghetto who found shelter with a Polish family in the nearby village of Naruszewo was caught by the Germans when he ventured out to inquire about his family. After betraying his benefactors, the Gestapo descended on their home and seized the husband and father of four young children. He was sent to Mauthausen where he was killed two weeks before the end of the war.201 Stanisława Olewnik, who lived in the village of Krzemień, gave shelter to the Mławski family after they escaped from the ghetto in Maków Mazowiecki. When the Mławski family was apprehended by the Germans in fall of 1943, one of the daughters divulged under torture that they had been hidden by Stanisława Olewnik. The Mławskis and their benefactor were deported to Auschwitz when they perished.202
A Jewish woman imprisoned in the Łącki Street prison in Lwów recalled some of her fellow prisoners:
A Polish and a Ukrainian woman were in for hiding Jews. The Polish woman had hidden a father and daughter in a crate, and three Jews in a space behind a wall. The police discovered the ones inside the wall, and then those Jews betrayed the father and daughter hidden in the crate. The Polish and the Ukrainian woman were jailed. The Pole took all the blame, i.e., accepted responsibility and was sent to Majdanek, and the Ukrainian was freed.203
When a Jew by the name of Mensch was caught in a village outside Żółkiew, under torture he disclosed the hiding places of three other Jews; all four Jews were executed.204 Some Jews apprehended by the Germans in Łąki Strzyżowskie near Frysztak drew sketches showing the location of Jewish hideouts in the forests during their interrogation.205 Witold Fomienko, a Polish barber in Łuck, Volhynia, and his many Jewish charges were more fortunate. When Esther Milner, one of his charges, was identified by a Ukrainian nationalist and interrogated, her connection with Fomienko was discovered. Formienko was tortured by the Gestapo, and it was only thanks to a German officer who was a client of his that he was released.206
Nine escapees from trains headed for Treblinka were sheltered by Józef Gondrowicz and his wife in the village of Droblin near Wodzisław, south of Jędrzejów. Carelessness on the part of one of the Jewish children led to the discovery of the hiding place in December 1944. David Braun and Shmuel and Alek Rubinek were killed on the spot while the remaining refugees managed to escape to a new hiding place arranged for them by Gondrowicz in a nearby village. Fearing arrest, the entire Gondrowicz family also went into hiding, until they felt it was safe to return.207
A Jewish woman from Międzyrzec who fell into the hands of the Gestapo disclosed an underground organization spiriting Jews to Warsaw:
The Kamienietzki sisters had given Aryan papers and their underground address in Warsaw to Miss Tisch of Miedzyrzec [Międzyrzec] … She was dark-haired and looked very Jewish. She was arrested on the train to Warsaw and taken to the Gestapo in Miedzyrzec. Under torture she revealed everything. A few days later the Gestapo man … arrived at the Kamienietzkis’ apartment instead of Miss Tisch’s [sic]. He reminded the sisters of his warning. … he said he would not shoot them as he did Miss Tisch. He arrested them and sent them to the Pawiak prison in Warsaw. In the end it was the same. All the Jews in Pawiak were killed.208
The parents of Janeczka Kapral, a young Jewish girl who was sheltered by Polish nuns in Olsztyn near Częstochowa, were caught by the Germans and betrayed the whereabouts of their daughter and the Polish woman, a school teacher by the name of Kita, who had brought her to the convent. The young girl was seized by the Gestapo and the teacher was also arrested and killed. The nuns dispersed to avoid arrest.209
A Jew who was sheltered by a Polish family in Sambor ventured out of the home against the wishes of his benefactors, an elderly Polish couple. When he was caught by the Germans he betrayed the hideout causing the execution of the Polish couple as well as the Jewish couple they were hiding.210 The son of Henryk Bermer, a Jewish bookstore owner in Jasło, was hidden by Professor Król. The young man was discovered and executed. Professor Król and one member of his wife’s family (Dutkiewicz) were arrested. After a lengthy interrogation, they were released. Before the young man’s death, the Nazis confiscated his notebook. In it he had written the names of several Catholics from Jasło with whom he was in contact. The Gestapo interrogated them all.211
The carelessness of a friend taken in by Noemi K. of Lwów led to the friend’s arrest by the Gestapo and the loss of a safe place of residence for Noemi K.212 The carelessness of a Jewish woman, who tried to enter a hideout on Źródlana Street in Lwów, alerted the Germans, who apprehended 18 Jews.213 In Huziejów, a village near Bolechów, south of Stryj, some 40 Jews hidden by the local miller were exposed when of the Jews hidden there went to his former home to pick up valuables out of the cache on hearing that the house was being dismantled. The miller and his wife also paid with their lives.214
A seven-year-old Jewish boy hidden by Polish family in Przemyśl carelessly revealed that he was Jewish and the Germans took him away. Following the boy’s arrest, the Germans discovered his parents’ hiding place and murdered them as well.215 Jewish children hidden in an orphanage in Przemyśl run by the Salesian Fathers were more fortunate. A Jewish boy who was sheltered there recalled the arrival of the Germans who came looking for Jewish boys. The Germans were accompanied by a Jew dressed as a priest. Fortunately, the Jewish boys passed the religious test they underwent.216
A Jew in the Stanisławów ghetto fingered Jumko Mandel for hiding away some meat illegally. He and his wife were arrested and taken away by the Gestapo.217 A Jewish woman from Stanisławów and her sister-in-law from Lwów, posing as Poles, were apprehended when they arrived in Warsaw and were leaving the train station. They were taken to a police station where they were questioned by two police interrogators:
One of them wanted to finish, but the other was determined to destroy me. They examined each of us in minute religious matters, and went over all our documents. They spoke only Yiddish during all of this, and even sang some Yiddish songs. Then they started arguing: the first one wanted to let us go and the other to turn us over to the Germans.
We were finally freed after two hours of interrogation …218
A large group of Jews hidden on a farm in Zamienie, in Polesia (Polesie), was betrayed by a 13-year-old Jewish boy whom the group was reluctant to take in because he was poor. The Jewish teenager reported the hiding place to the SS stationed in Lubieszów. The Jews and their Polish benefactors were executed and the farmstead was burned to the ground. The young Jew became a servant for the Germans until he was himself executed in April 1943, when the unit was transferred to Luboml.219 Jewish escapees apprehended by the Germans near Lubień, south of Piotrków Trybunalski, betrayed many farmers and gamekeepers who had assisted them, thus causing the execution of more than a dozen Poles.220
Józef Rydzewski built a hiding place for the seven-member family of Abram Malczak on his farm in Budy Stawiskie near Łomża. One day Abram Malczak’s young son recklessly left the hiding place and was apprehended by German gendarmes patrolling the area. After a beating he led the Germans to the hiding place. Rydzewski and the entire Jewish family were executed.221 For this same reason several Polish farmers were also seized by the Germans in a neighbouring village and never heard of again.222
Władysława Blitzer sheltered several Jews in Kraków, among them, Ludwik Blitzer, whom she married in 1941. They were denounced by Józef Fas, a Jew. Ludwik Blitzer was executed in December 1942, while his wife was imprisoned.223 Władysław Łopatowski, who was active in the Council for Aid to Jews (“Żegota”) in Kraków, was arrested by the Gestapo after his betrayal by a Jewish woman for whom he had obtained forged identity papers. The woman was caught by the Gestapo and under torture revealed his name, and was then shot herself. After a 10-month incarceration, Łopatowski was hanged in public on June 24, 1944, along with 49 other Poles.224
Roman Blum, a member of the National Party (Stronnictwo Narodowe), obtained false documents from underground sources in the name of Jagusch or Jagusz for a Jewish woman, who was later stopped by the police. She disclosed the name of the person who provided her with the document. Roman Blum was arrested in Kraków in December 1943, but betrayed no one. He was deported to the Gross-Rosen (Groß-Rosen) concentration camps, and later to Flossenburg where perished in March 1945.225 Franciszka Zając, who was recognized by Yad Vashem as a Righteous Gentile, rescued and assisted several Jews in Kraków. Unfortunately, one of those she had helped was caught and in his interrogation gave away her name. Zając was arrested by the Gestapo in 1943. She was interrogated and tortured, causing her permanent damage to her health. Despite this, however, she did not betray any of her wards. She was released after spending eight months in prison.226
There were cases when Jews caught by the Germans while escaping from the ghetto in Rzeszów betrayed those who had helped them escape.227 Antoni Burek was executed in Gutanów near Grabów, after a Jew who was apprehended by the Germans betrayed his Polish benefactors.228 A 14-year-old Jewish boy from Modryń near Hrubieszów, who was apprehended during an excursion from his forest dugout, led a German search party to apprehend his Polish protector after beatings and false promises that he and his sister would be spared.229 A Jewish woman by the name of Boruch was apprehended and beaten by the German military police. Given a promise that her life would be spared, she revealed the names of the Poles who had sheltered and helped her. As a result seven Poles were executed in Majdan Nowy near Księżopol together with the Jewish woman.230
Józef Dybka, a member of the Home Army and employee of the municipal office in Nisko, provided false documents to the underground and those in need. He was arrested by the Gestapo in 1943 and executed the following year after a Jewish woman who had been apprehended by the Germans produced a document provided to her by Dybka.231 Jadwiga Wiśniewska, a Polish woman who acted as a courier for the Jewish underground, was captured by the Gestapo in June 1941, after she was fingered by a Jewish woman, who was falsely accused of being the owner of a suitcase containing underground publications which actually belonged to Wiśniewska. Luckily, Wiśniewska concocted an alibi and was able to deceive her captors with the help of the Polish Socialist underground, and thus miraculously survived the close call.232
Stanisława Olewnik of the village of Krzemień, a farm labourer and mother of two small sons, sheltered in her home the five-member Mławski family, who had escaped from the Maków Mazowiecki ghetto. She also provided her own documents to their daughter to facilitate her survival. When the Mławskis, who were hiding in the forest at the time, were apprehended by the Germans during a raid in the fall of 1943, under interrogation one of the daughters revealed their benefactor. Stanisława Olewnik and was sent to Auschwitz alongside the family she attempted to save. They all perished in 1944.233
The Łodej family, consisting of eight people—grandparents, parents, and four children ages 6 to 14, were executed by the Germans near Iłża in December 1942, after one of the 40 members of a Jewish forest group that was liquidated by the German police betrayed some Jewish hideouts and their Polish benefactors, the Łodej family.234
When a frightened Polish farmer near Łosice asked his four Jewish charges to leave their hideout under his pigsty, one of the Jews who was expelled went to the German police to report the farmer: “After he gave the Germans the facts, they led him back to the farm, killed the peasant and Aryeh [Lieberman]’s cousin, and set the house ablaze.”235 Twenty-eight Poles were executed by the Germans in the villages of Jagodne and Zastawie near Siedlce, after a Jew by the name of Gdala who was caught by the Germans pointed out those who had helped him.236
A Jew by the name of Lejzor was apprehended by the Germans near Sokołów Podlaski, and betrayed those Poles who had offered him food and shelter.237 A Jew from Łuków betrayed his son, Lajbele Bomstein, his son’s girlfriend, and some other Jews who were shelted by Poles. All of the Jews as well as the Polish family hiding them were killed by the Germans.238
Rev. Romuald Świrkowski, the pastor of the parish of the Holy Spirit in Wilno, was betrayed by Jews whom he sheltered. He was arrested in January 1942 and executed in Ponary.239 A captured Jewish woman gave away the names of none Poles who had helped Jewish fugitives near Jawornik. In all, nine Poles and seven Jews were shot.240
Rev. Edward Tabaczkowski, who sheltered and provided various forms of assistance to Jews, was executed after his betrayal to the Gestapo by a Jewess from Tłumacz.241 A Polish couple, Maria and Bronisław Jarosiński, were arrested by the Gestapo and Ukrainian police in Stryj after being betrayed by a Jew whom they did not accept because of a lack of room (they were already sheltering a Jewish family consisting of five members). They rescuers were soon executed, as doubtless were the Jewish charges.242
Abraham Tracy (Trasawucki) was one of six Jews hidden in a barn on a farm belonging to the Oleynik family near the town of Skała Podolska. Since the only female among the group, Ruzie, caught a cold with a heavy cough, she was invited to stay in their house until she was feeling better.
On the third day after Ruzie had entered the house, several Ukrainian policemen entered the courtyard, accompanied by a fourteen-year-old Jewish boy. The officers demanded that the Oleyniks give up the Jews who were hiding on the property. Nikolai [Oleynik] denied hiding anyone, but this young boy insisted that there were Jews there, listing all of our names. I have no idea how he knew we were there, or why he was in the police station in the first place. Years later I tracked him down and attempted to question him, but he refused to discuss it.
Nikolai’s wife, seeing the soldiers in the courtyard, told Ruzie to crawl into the oven to hide. Ruzie curled into the oven, and Nikolai’s wife covered it, leaving her a little air to breath. The officers stormed into the house, going through the rooms and searching for Jews.
As they were ransacking the kitchen area, one of them noticed the cover of the oven moving. Ruzie was dragged out of the oven, and they began to question her.
“Where are the others?” they yelled.
“There are no others,” she responded. Ruzie remained calm and steadfastly refused to admit to our existence. The officers beat her and continued to question her.
“Where are the others?”
“There are no others.”
“Where are the others?”
“There are no others.”
Seeing that they would not get information from her this way, they began to ask her other questions.
“How did you get here?”
“I was walking from the forest and I saw you approaching. I ran into this house to hide.”
The officers were skeptical. “Is that so? You don’t look like you were hiding in the forest. You don’t look cold enough or dirty enough. You have been hiding here for some time.” The officers continued to beat her. “You are lying to us! Tell us where the others are and we will leave you alone. You can stay in this house and we will do you no harm.”
The interrogation went on for some time, but Ruzie heroically stood her ground. The officers searched the entire house and barn, but were unable to find us, as we were hiding in the bunker. When they finally gave up their search, they harnessed their horses, threw Ruzie into their wagon, drove her to the fields and shot her to death.
We were still in the bunker several hours. We had heard the noises of what had happened in the house and we were still afraid to come out. The bunker was cramped and there was little air to breathe.
When darkness fell, Nikolai appeared in the barn with a hatchet in his hands. He was drunk and angry, and he smashed at the entrance of the bunker, breaking the boards that concealed us.
“Get out!” he yelled. “Get out of here!” Get off my property!”
We tried to talk to him, to plead with him, but we could not convince him, especially in his drunken state. In truth, I could not blame him, he had helped us for many long months, and we all owed him our lives. He had put himself and his family at great risk, and I understood his fear when he decided to throw us out.
No, Nikolai was not to blame. I could feel his pain and I was not angry with him for his actions. It was the young Jewish boy whom I could not forgive. …
The five of us left Nikolai’s property, thinking of Ruzie and her loyalty, and of this young boy and his betrayal.243
One has to wonder how many other Jews this Jewish boy must have betrayed in order to have been useful to the Germans and survived the war. The fact that the Oleyniks were Ukrainians likely spared them the fate they would have met had they been Poles.
Many examples of betrayal by Jews of Polish rescuers, who were put to death as a result, and their Jewish charges can be found in Wacław Zajączkowski’s chronicle Martyrs of Charity:244 Będzin (entry 51); Bobowa (entry 65)245; Boiska (entry 68)246; Busko-Zdrój (entry 93)247; Cezaryn (entry 95)248; Chmielnik (entry 98)249; Chotel Czerwony (entry 102)250; Czermna (entry 119)251; Częstochowa (entry 124)—Rev. Teodor Popczyk, vicar of St. Barbara’s parish, was shot by the German security police on June 16, 1943, after being betrayed, under torture, by a Jew to whom he had issued false identity documents; Głęboka near Gorlice (entry 158)252; Grzegorzówka (entry 173); Gumniska (entry 174)253; Hadle Szklarskie (entry 176); Jeziorko (entry 199)—two Polish families who had cared for Jewish fugitives were shot by the Germans after being denounced by a Jew captured during a raid254; Kowel (entry 238)—according to another source, a Polish train conductor was seized by the German police after the Jewish police in Chełm Lubelski informed them that this Pole had sheltered and transported a Jew255; a Jewish woman being smuggled from Lwów to Kraków lost her nerve during a random railroad search and betrayed herself and her Polish courier from the Żegota organization (entry 248); Kryg (entry 255) and Libusza (entry 262)256; Lipowiec Duży (entry 268)257; Łużna (entry 301)258; Markuszowa (entry 311)259; Mętów (entry 314)260; Miechów (entry 317)261; Modryń (entry 327); Mszadla Dolna near Przyłęk (entry 333); Mystków and Ptaszkowa, near Nowy Sącz (entries 336, 405), after being apprehended and beaten severely, the brothers Chaim and Szmul Neigreschel divulged the names of two Poles who had sheltered them: Ludwik Borek of Mystków and Jakub Tokarz of Ptaszków, both of whom were executed262; Nowy Sącz (entry 343); Pantalowice (entries 361, 362)—nine Poles were executed by the Germans as a result of a betrayal by Małka Schönfeld, a young Jewish woman, who fingered the benefactors of a group of Jews hiding in the nearby forest263; Piaseczno (entry 370); Pilica (entry 372)264; Przewrotne (entry 404)265; Ropa (entry 422)266; Różan (entry 427); Rzeszów entry 437); Sadowne (entry 440)—a baker who gave a loaf of bread to two Jewish women was executed together with his wife and son when the Jews were caught with the bread in their hands and indicated the place where they got it; Siedlce (entry 451); Siedliska (entry 452)267; Sokołów Małopolski (entry 469); Sterdyń (entry 479—this incident is described below); Stoczek (entry 480)268; Stryj (entry 483—this incident is described above); Studzieniec (entry 484); Treblinka (entries 508, 512):
Prospective victims of the death camp were not aware of its real nature. A foreign-born Jew, when lost in transport, even brought his own ticket there in order to join his group which allegedly was being shipped to a rural settlement. He was warned by a Polish conductor and ran away. On another occasion, however, a similar warning from a Catholic worker resulted in his immediate execution when the Jew complained to a German guard, mistrusting the “anti-Semitic” Pole.269
A Catholic farmer, Jan Samsel, who resided in the nearby village of Grądy, was commissioned by the Polish Home Army to deliver arms to the Jewish inmates through the intermediary of a friendly Ukrainian guard. The Germans, however, probably though a Jewish informer known as “Ignac,” found out about the plan and arrested the entire Samsel family. All of them perished in the death camp.270
Szerzyny (entry 489)271; Uszew (entry 522)272; Warsaw (entries 536, 537,273 539, 567, 580, 582,274 596, 607,275 614); Ossów near Warsaw (entry 572); Wierzbica (entries 625,276 626, 627, 628); Zagórzyce (entry 677—this incident is described below277); and Zarzetka (entry 683—this incident is described below). Betrayals also occurred in Marchaty and Czortków,278 and near Izbica279 and Tarnów.280
A Polish Home Army liaison officer in Lwów was betrayed by his Jewish charge.281 When Eugeniusz Scheiman left his hideout in Lwów and was captured by the Germans, he betrayed his Polish benefactor, Kornelia Mazurkiewicz, who was arrested together with Aniela Mazurkiewicz; both of these Polish women perished in unknown circumstances.282 When Anna Binrfeld left her hideout in Głogów Małopolski, she was captured by the Germans and betrayed her benefactor, Maria Ożóg, who was arrested, brutally beaten, and executed that same day.283 Wladysław Kokoszka of Pagorzyzna near Gorloce was executed by the Gestapo after his betrayal by Jews whom he had sheltered.284 A Jew by the name of Miodownik was apprehended by the Germans near Czechów and betrayed his benefactor, Józef Gawlik.285 Władysław Wójcik, who was awarded by Yad Vashem for rescuing several Jews, had to leave Węgrów after his betrayal by a Jewish boy.286