„I was born in Toruń in 1937. I lived with my parents on the street Sienkiewicza 41, opposite of the now defunct train station of Toruń-West. Because of that, many travelers have visited our house, and my parents gave them different kinds of assistance,” – recalls his early childhood, Mrs. Elżebita Filipiak, who was a witness to the care provided by her parents for people of Jewish origin. She also helped them as much as she could.

Mrs Starzykowa was a Jew who had converted to Catholicism and married a Polish farmer. Her relationship with Elżbiet’a family, was very benevolent. The older sister of Elzbieta, Maria, was even the godmother of the little Zygmunt, the youngest child from Starzyk family.

„At the end of the war, in 1944, the Germans took Mrs. Starzykowa – as a Jew to the camp.” Fearing for the safety of the youngest son, Mr. Starzyk begged his friend for help. They willingly took the boy to their house. The father hid the boy on the cart in the straw and took him away.

The child was in bad physical shape. The boy had scabs all over his body, had bugs in his hair and a runny nose. No one could knew about his presence, even close family. Despite the difficult conditions, in which Zygmunt stayed, the family cared about him and tried to give him, among other things, due to his young age, something like a normal life. Children who helped, treated the boy as like younger brother. „Grasping him with the scarf, which I wrapped around his tummy, I taught him to walk”. The child survived the occupation. The fate has been also kind to his mother. Mrs. Starzykowa fortunately, got back from camp. With great joy she saw her son alive and in good condition. Zygmunt joined with his mother the rest of his family who managed to survive in this difficult time of the German occupation.


  1. FLV, List od Elżbiety Filipiak z 24.09.2013 r.