ZAWADKA, POLAND… JULY 1942
Frieda Tepper Gersten, a peddler, traveled throughout southern Poland. When war broke out she approached former customers, Maria and Stanislaw Polziec, and asked if they would hide herself, her son, Leon, her sister and brother-in-law, Celia and Herman Wiesenfeld, and their son, Moshe. Maria and Stanislaw Polziec, even though they had five children, Czeslaw, Janina, Wladyslawa, Wanda, and Genowefa, agreed to take in the five desperate Jews. Frieda and the four other members of her family left Frysztak on foot and made their way to the Polziec farm. A shelter was made for the Jews in the attic. Czeslaw was responsible for standing guard and bringing food. One night the farm was raided. The Jews ran down the ladder from the attic into an earthen bunker. Czeslaw and Stanislaw moved a big grain storage bin over the opening of the bunker. Hearing the footsteps, the raiders asked Stanislaw who was running. He said it was his children who were staying in the attic. They did not believe Stanislaw and mercilessly beat him. The Jews could hear the screams, but the Polziec family did not betray the five Jews. The Polziec family could have sent Frieda, Leon and the Wiesenfelds away – they did not. The Polziec family hid the five Jews for more than two years, until the area was liberated by the Soviet army in July 1944. The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous reunited Czeslaw with Leon at its 2013 dinner. They had not seen each other since 1944.
To read more about the Polziec family, click here.
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