Juzefa Olszewska Poland
Szarkowszczyzna, Poland… July 1942 – The Nomkin family owned a farm in Szarkowszczyzna, Poland (now Belarus). The head of the family was the mother, Gita. She had 13 adult children and several grandchildren. The Nomkin family was friends with their neighbors, the Olszewski family. Mr. Olszewski had died a year before the war broke out and his wife, Teodora, was left with five children.
When the Germans invaded Szarkowszczyzna, all its Jews, including Gita Nomkin, her children, and grandchildren, were forced into the Szarkowszczyzna ghetto. The Germans also moved Jews from smaller villages into the Szarkowszczyzna ghetto, including Bela Kluvut, her parents, and siblings. In the ghetto Bela met Martin Nomkin.
When the ghetto was liquidated in July 1942, some members of the Nomkin family fled to the woods. Bela fled with her younger sister, Chaya, and Martin. They hid in the forest for a while until they decided to separate. Chaya went to the Glebokie ghetto, where she was later killed. Bela and Martin remained in the forest. Martin was trying to join a Jewish partisan group.
Because of partisan activity, the Germans bombed the forest. Martin and Bela escaped and made their way to the Olszewski farm. When they arrived at the farm, they discovered that other members of Martin’s family were already hiding there. The Olszewski family was hiding Martin’s brother, Hersch, and Hersch’s daughter, Milka. A few days later, Martin and Hersch were reunited with two other siblings and their spouses, who also sought shelter from the Olszewski family.
The Olszewski family hid the Nomkin family with love and care. Teodora’s children, Anna, Janina, Kazimierz, Juzefa, and Piotr, took an active role in caring for the Nomkin family. There were several close calls when the Olszewski family was interrogated by the Germans and their house was searched. The Jews were never found, as the Olszewski family carefully hid the Nomkin family in the attic of the bathhouse.
In the summer of 1943, some members of the Nomkin family decided to join a Russian partisan group. The rest of the family remained in hiding with the Olszewski family until they were liberated by the Soviet army in July 1944. After the war, the Nomkin family moved to Vilna and then immigrated to Israel. Bela and Martin married. With their help, three of Teodora’s daughters moved to and studied in Vilna.
Teodora Olszewska and three of her children died years ago. Juzefa Olszewska died in March 2014. Piotr is in his 80s and continues to live in Szarkowszczyzna.