On December 17, 1941 the Germans and their Polish collaborators herded and massacred roughly 500 of the Jews of Jody. By the end of the month, they had captured and murdered another 100. Of the roughly 100 Jews who were still alive, some fled to ghettos in nearby towns, some wandered from place to place, and a few were hidden by Christians. The Silverman and Smuszkowicz families were among those who found shelter. The two families found shelter with the Konochowicz family, who were complete strangers. The family consisted of the parents and eight children, including 17-year-old Jadviga, the third oldest. Although the Konochowiczes were poor and barely able to care for their own family of ten, they provided food and shelter for the eight Jews. In doing so, they sacrificed their own welfare and risked their lives. The punishment for hiding a Jew in German-occupied Poland was death.
JODY, BELARUS… JANUARY 1943 – In June 1943, four of the Silverman and Smuszkowicz children left the farm and went into the forest to join the Spartak partisan brigade. A few months later, the other two teenagers joined another partisan brigade that was fighting the Germans. They continued to use the Konochowicz farm as a safe house. Jadviga continued to help by smuggling weapons and ammunition to the partisans. All eight members of the Silverman and Smuszkowicz families survived the war.
In 2003 the JFR reunited Jadviga Konochowicz with Jack and Peter Silverman and their cousins Peter, Dave, and Jane Smuszkowicz. Jack Silverman and Peter Smuszkowicz have not seen Jadviga since 1945.
To read more about Jadviga Konochowicz click here.