The Weglowski Family Poland
Stara Huta, Poland… 1941 – Jacob Wexler owned a mill that was located on the farm of Florian and Maria Weglowski in the village of Stara Huta, Poland (now Ukraine). Because it was too far for Jacob to travel each day from where his family lived in Ludwipol to the Weglowski farm in Stara Huta, Jacob moved into the Weglowski home with his wife, Chana, and daughter, Mira.
When the war broke out in 1939, the area was first occupied by the Soviets. In June 1941, Germany invaded and life changed for the Wexler family. In late summer 1941, Jews from Ludwipol and the surrounding villages, including Mira and her parents, were forced into the newly created Ludwipol ghetto.
In August 1942, the Germans began the liquidation of the Ludwipol ghetto. Mira’s father, Jacob, was killed by the Germans in an Aktion on August 24, 1942. Mira’s mother, Chana, decided their only chance of survival was to flee the ghetto. Chana, Mira, and Jacob Wexler’s brother, Joseph, escaped from the ghetto. They ran across the bridge to the woods on the outside of town and made their way to the Weglowski farm. Helena Weglowski and her family took in Mira and Chana. Joseph had already smuggled his wife out of the ghetto; he joined her where she was hiding with Florian Weglowski’s brother, Franciszek.
Because everyone in the village knew how close Jacob Wexler and his family were with the Weglowski family, it was too dangerous for Mira and Chana to stay with Helena and her family permanently. Mira and Chana would go back and forth between hiding in the nearby woods and the Weglowski farm; they would often sleep in pits on the farm. When Mira and Chana were hiding in the woods or in the pits, Helena and her brother, Stanislaw, would bring food to Mira and Chana. This is how Mira and Chana lived for two years – going back and forth between the woods and Helena’s home.
Helena and Stanislaw put their lives in jeopardy every day. Everyone knew if the Germans discovered they were helping Jews, Helena and her family would be killed along with Mira and Chana. The Weglowski family also helped Mira’s young cousins, Sam and Sylvia Weinstein, whose parents were killed in the liquidation of the Ludwipol ghetto. Sam and Sylvia escaped from the Ludwipol ghetto and sought out Helena and her family. Although Sam and Sylvia stayed in a number of places, they spent most of their time in hiding with Florian’s brother.
After the war, Chana and Mira went to Brazil. Joseph and his wife, along with Sam and Sylvia, went to Canada. The Russians forced the Weglowski family to leave their home in Stara Huta.
Maria and Florian Weglowski died years ago. Stanislaw Weglowski passed away on November 23, 2020. Helena is in her 90s and lives in Ilawa, Poland.
The JFR reunited Helena with Mira at its annual dinner on December, 1, 2015. The documentary retelling their story can be viewed here.