ZAWALOW, POLAND… JUNE 1943 – In June 1943, on the eve of Shavuot, the Podhajce ghetto was liquidated. Only a handful of Jews managed to escape. Seeking shelter in the woods they realized that they could not survive alone. Help was sought from the Bilecki family whom they had known before the war. Genko, Lewko, Julian, and Roman Bilecki agreed to help these Jews. Genko and Lewko showed the Jews where to build a bunker in the woods and for almost a year provided them with food. The bunker was discovered not once but twice, forcing the Jews to flee. Each time the Bilecki family showed them where to build their new bunker, and they helped to move the desperate Jews to another part of the forest. In the spring of 1944, the area was liberated by the Soviet army. The courage and commitment of the Bilecki family saved the lives of 23 Jewish men, women, and children. In 1998 the JFR reunited Julian and Roman with six of the Jews they saved.
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