Bogdan Musiał
Who would help the Jew…

Without Polish help, it would not have been possible for any of them to survive

kto uratuje-druk.indd

One of the greatest crimes committed by the Germans on the Polish population in retribution for assisting escaping Jews took place on December 6, 1942 in the Radom region, in the town of Stary Ciepielów (county Lipsko) and the neighboring village of Rekówka. Among the victims there were twenty children, the youngest seven months old. The course of this crime has been well documented. On that fateful day a group of German policemen came to Stary Ciepielów and surrounded three farm compounds, belonging to the Kosior, Obuchiewicz and Kowalski families. The Germans detained the owners along with their wives and children, and two runaway Jews. After a few hours they began to shoot the people. First murdered were the Kosiors and their six children, ages from six to eighteen, and the two previously mentioned Jews. The executions took place in the hay barn, which was then burned down. Then the Kowalski family was murdered, together with their five children, aged one to sixteen. The Obuchiewicz family followed with four children, aged seven months to six years. After the murders were committed, the Kowalski home was set ablaze and burned.
At the same time a different group of some ten German policemen arrived in the nearby village of Rekówka. They surrounded two farm compounds – one belonging to the Kosior family (relatives of the Kosiors from Stary Ciepielów) with their four children, aged two to ten, and the other belonging to the Skoczylas family. All those detained were herded into a barn, then shot and the barn burned. On that day the Germans shot a total of thirty-three persons in Stary Ciepielów and Rekówka. This included two adult runaway Jews. Word of this and other repressive acts echoed across the region and, as a result, few Poles would commit to assisting Jewish escapees.
On December 8, 1942, that is two months after the massacre in Stary Ciepielów and Rekówka, a group of German policemen arrived in the Boiska settlement (county Lipsko) during the morning hours. They came from their stationhouse in Lipsko and surrounded the farm compound where Wiktoria and Leon Kryczka lived with their two children and their relatives Barbara Stefanek and Józef Ciesielski. The policeman in charge allowed them to send the children to a neighbour’s house, after which the four adults were shot on the spot. Despite severe wounds Wiktoria Kryczka survived the shooting, but died two days later. The motive for this act was that the Kryczkas were allegedly hiding a runaway Jew, who, however, was not found during the search. The inhabitants of Boiska suspected that the Kryczka family had concealed an escapee from the ghetto. A conversation between two persons must have been overheard by an informer in a public place who then reported it to his German masters.

Excerpt translated by Peter Obst

Bogdan Musiał
Who would help the Jew…

Without Polish help, it would not have been possible for any of them to survive

kto uratuje-druk.indd

Publisher: Zysk i S-ka, Poznań 2019
Translation rights: Zysk i S-ka,

Poland was the only country occupied by Nazi Germany where any help given to Jews was punished by death. This was stated in German law for the occupied territories. Poles did not have free choice as to their attitude toward their Jewish neighbors, because there were even cases of shootings for failure to report Jews, much less giving them any assistance whatsoever!
Bogdan Musiał, a historian, writes about all this in his latest book. Who would help the Jew… shows how insufficient the state of knowledge is about the Holocaust in Poland, how the relevant documents and archives still remain undiscovered. And these exist, refuting the thesis about the alleged cooperation of Poles with the Nazis in the process of exterminating the Jews. The author of the book makes use of German decrees and ordinances, but also recounts family stories known to him from the vicinity of Dąbrowa Tarnowska, where, among others, his grandfather, who fearing for the lives of his family, refused to shelter a Jewish girl. ‘Volksdeutsch lived in the village, and they would inform the Germans, and they would shoot me, my wife and children’, he recalled, stating the literal truth. This is evidenced by the crime committed against the Ulma family in the village of Markowa near Łańcut, where Germans murdered a Jewish family of eight found in hiding as well as those who gave them shelter: Józef Ulma, his wife Wiktoria, who was in her last month of pregnancy, and six children aged from one-and-a-half up to eight-years-old. The commanding officer of the German police, Eilert Dicken, did not receive any punishment for acts he committed in Poland; he continued his service in the town of Essens in the north of Germany. The occupation administrator of Łowicz, Dr. Heinz W. Schwender, continued his legal career in Germany after the war. Apparently, it did him no harm to sign a 1941 pronouncement reminding all that ‘the death penalty applies to anyone who assists Jews leaving the place of internment without the permission of the authorities, or otherwise aids Jews’ (original wording).

Even more significant is the fact that under these draconian conditions, and despite cases of betrayal by informers, about 100,000 Jews survived the German occupation in hiding on Polish territory, according to estimates by Dr. Szymon Datner from 1970. Without Polish help, it would not have been possible for any of them to survive.

Krzysztof Masłoń, translated by Peter Obst

Selected samples

歐菈·沃丹斯卡-波欽斯卡(Ola Woldańska-Płocińska)
作者:沃伊切赫·維德瓦克(Wojciech Widłak), 插圖:亞歷珊德拉·克珊諾夫斯卡(Aleksandra Krzanowska)
文字:莫妮卡·烏特尼-斯特魯加瓦(Monika Utnik-Strugała), 概念和插圖:皮歐特·索哈(Piotr Socha)
作者:亞格涅絲卡·斯特爾馬什克(Agnieszka Stelmaszyk)
尤安娜·日斯卡(Joanna Rzyska)、阿嘉妲·杜德克(Agata Dudek)、瑪格熱妲·諾瓦克(Małgorzata Nowak) Druganoga出版社,華沙2021
艾麗莎·皮歐特夫斯卡(Eliza Piotrowska)
米科瓦伊·帕辛斯基(Mikołaj Pasiński)、瑪格熱妲·赫爾巴(Gosia Herba)
歐菈·沃丹斯卡-波欽斯卡(Ola Woldańska-Płocińska)
瑪麗安娜·奧克雷亞克(Marianna Oklejak)
拉法爾·科希克(Rafał Kosik)
亞歷珊德拉·沃丹斯卡-波欽斯卡(Aleksandra Woldańska-Płocińska)
巴托米耶·伊格納邱克(Bartłomiej Ignaciuk), 阿嘉塔·洛特-伊格納邱克(Agata Loth-Ignaciuk)
文字和插圖:皮歐特·卡爾斯基(Piotr Karski)
文字和插圖:皮歐特·卡爾斯基(Piotr Karski)
羅珊娜·延澤耶夫斯卡-弗魯貝爾 (Roksana Jędrzejewska-Wróbel)
作者:普舎米斯瓦夫·維赫特洛維奇(Przemysław Wechterowicz) 插圖:艾米莉·吉烏巴克(Emilia Dziubak)
尤斯提娜·貝納雷(Justyna Bednarek) 插圖:丹尼爾·德拉圖爾(Daniel De Latour)
尤安娜·巴托西克(Joanna Bartosik)
瑪格熱妲·斯文多夫斯卡(Małgorzata Swędrowska)、尤安娜·巴托西克(Joanna Bartosik)
Jan Kochanowski
Jarosław Marek Rymkiewicz
Olga Tokarczuk
Władysław Stanisław Reymont
An Ancient Tale
Stanisław Rembek
Elżbieta Cherezińska
Henryk Sienkiewicz
Maria Dąbrowska
Stefan Żeromski
Bronisław Wildstein
Zbigniew Herbert / Wisława Szymborska
Karol Wojtyła
Wiesław Myśliwski
Czesław Miłosz
Anna Świrszczyńska / Melchior Wańkowicz
Tadeusz Borowski / Gustaw Herling-Grudziński
Wiesław Helak
Góra Tabor
Adriana Szymańska
Paweł Rzewuski
Mariusz Staniszewski
Radek Rak
Urszula Honek
Kazimierz Orłoś
Rafał Wojasiński
Antonina Grzegorzewska
Józef Mackiewicz
Tobiasz Piątkowski, Marek Oleksicki
Daniel Odija
Bronisław Wildstein
Józef Mackiewicz
Józef Mackiewicz
Witold Szabłowski
Andrzej Muszyński
Wiesław Helak
Bartosz Jastrzębski
Dariusz Sośnicki
Łukasz Orbitowski
Jakub Małecki
אנדז'יי ספקובסקי
Elżbieta Cherezińska
Wiesław Myśliwski
Jakub Małecki
Aleksandra Lipczak
Jacek Dukaj
Wit Szostak
Bartosz Biedrzycki
Zyta Rudzka
Maciej Płaza
Wojciech Chmielewski
Paweł Huelle
Przemysław "Trust" Truściński
Angelika Kuźniak
Wojciech Kudyba
Michał Protasiuk
Stanisław Rembek
Krzysztof Karasek
Elżbieta Isakiewicz
Artur Daniel Liskowacki
Jarosław Jakubowski
Zbigniew Stawrowski
Szczepan Twardoch
Wojciech Chmielarz
Robert Małecki
Zygmunt Miłoszewski
Anna Piwkowska
Dominika Słowik
Wojciech Chmielewski
Barbara Banaś
Rafał Mikołajczyk
Jerzy Szymik
Waldemar Bawołek
Julia Fiedorczuk
Jakub Szamałek
Witold Szabłowski
Jacek Dukaj
Grzegorz Górny, Janusz Rosikoń
Paweł Piechnik
Andrzej Strumiłło


Marta Kwaśnicka
Piotr Mitzner
Paweł Sołtys
Wacław Holewiński
Anna Potyra
Wiesław Helak
Urszula Zajączkowska
Marek Stokowski
Hubert Klimko-Dobrzaniecki
Jakub Małecki
Łukasz Orbitowski
Małgorzata Rejmer
Rafał Wojasiński
Wojciech Kudyba
Włodzimierz Bolecki
Jerzy Liebert
Wojciech Zembaty
Wojciech Chmielarz
Bogdan Musiał
Joanna Siedlecka
Krzysztof Tyszka-Drozdowski
Jarosław Marek Rymkiewicz
Marek Bieńczyk
Leszek Elektorowicz
Adrian Sinkowski
Szymon Babuchowski
Lech Majewski
Weronika Murek
Agnieszka Świętek
Stanisław Szukalski
Barbara Klicka
Anna Kamińska

She climbed her first peaks in a headscarf at a time when women in the mountains were treated by climbers as an additional backpack. It was with her that female alpinism began! She gained recognition in a spectacular way. The path was considered a crossing for madmen. Especially since the tragic accident in 1929, preserved … Continue reading “Halina”

Wojciech Chmielarz

First, Marysia, a student of an exclusive private school in Warsaw’s Mokotów district, dies under the wheels of a train. Her teacher, Elżbieta, tries to find out what really happened. She starts a private investigation only soon to perish herself. But her body disappears, and the only people who have seen anything are Gniewomir, a … Continue reading “Wound”

Anna Kańtoch

A young girl, Regina Wieczorek, was found dead on the beach. She was nineteen years old and had no enemies. Fortunately, the culprit was quickly found. At least, that’s what the militia think. Meanwhile, one day in November, Jan Kowalski appears at the police station. He claims to have killed not only Regina but also … Continue reading “Penance”

Marek Krajewski

The year is 1922. A dangerous time of breakthrough. In the Eastern Borderlands of the Republic of Poland, Bolshevik gangs sow terror, leaving behind the corpses of men and disgraced women. A ruthless secret intelligence race takes place between the Lviv-Warsaw-Free City of Gdańsk line. Lviv investigator Edward Popielski, called Łysy (“Hairless”), receives an offer … Continue reading “A Girl with Four Fingers”

Ks. Tomasz Stępień

This question is closely related to the next one, namely: if any goal exists, does life lead us to that goal in an orderly manner? In other words, is everything that happens to us just a set of chaotic events that, combined together, do not form a whole? To understand how the concept of providence … Continue reading “Order and Love”

Jakub Małecki
Szczepan Twardoch
Wiesław Helak
Maria Wilczek-Krupa
Anna Kańtoch
Rafał Kosik
Paweł Sołtys
Dorota Masłowska
Wiesław Myśliwski
Martyna Bunda
Olga Tokarczuk
Various authors
Mariola Kruszewska
Waldemar Bawołek
Marek Oleksicki, Tobiasz Piątkowski
Wojciech Tomczyk
Urszula Zajączkowska
Marzanna Bogumiła Kielar
Ks. Robert Skrzypczak
Bronisław Wildstein
Anna Bikont
Magdalena Grzebałkowska
Wojciech Orliński
Klementyna Suchanow
Andrzej Franaszek
Natalia Budzyńska
Marian Sworzeń
Aleksandra Wójcik, Maciej Zdziarski
Józef Łobodowski

The work of Józef Łobodowski (1909-1988) – a remarkable poet, prose writer, and translator, who spent most of his life in exile – is slowly being revived in Poland. Łobodowski’s brilliant three- volume novel, composed on an epic scale, concerns the fate of families and orphans unmoored by the Bolshevik Revolution and civil war and … Continue reading “Ukrainian Trilogy: Thickets, The Settlement, The Way Back”

Piotr Zaremba
Wacław Holewiński
To the top

© 2023 The Polish Book Institute