In Zaleszczyki (Tarnopolskie region) lived a lot of Jews – about 4 thousand people. Family Grzesiowscy tried to help as many as they could: they were handing them packages with food and when they were having some holidays they gave them presents.
It was autumn of 1941, when Julian Grzesiowski got from Land Commissioner an order to manage store Nur für Deutsche, that is only for Germans. „The family was packing to move out from Zaleszczyk to Jarosławie […] due to the restless movements of the Ukrainians. But during conversation Land Commissioner said to Julian, who refused this work – „And so you have to make a choice: Auschwitz or running the store.” Because of this, they had to stay in Zaleszczyki.
Next to the shop for the Germans, Grzesiowscy run the largest in the area shop for other people. One day, to the first of the stores came a man of Jewish origin. He needed products to bake a cake for officers. Julian didn’t sell him anything because it was strictly prohibited. After a while to the shop came a policeman accompanied by the same Jew to whom Mr. Grzesiowski refused to sale products. The man was carrying a basket full of groceries.
„The German said to my Father: „You gave that to him!” My father denied. And the Jew said, „It gave me the wife of this Mr.” So German said: „I will shot you, take a shovel!”. The German brought Julian out of the house. In the smaller street next to the building was excavation. „Dad started to dig a grave for himself and family”. The time was passing and the soldier was becoming more and more impatient. At some point, he raised his rifle and released the safety block. He aimed directly in the head of Julian Grzesiowski, who felt the breath of death. […] his right hand reached into the jacket pocket on the left arm and with sharp move he pulled out his rosary – wooden, black, and exclaimed: Jesus! Mary! Joseph – save me!” – at the same moment the shot was fired. „Dad looked up and saw a German with a face like a wall, with eyes wide open, open mouth and terror on his face. After some time, he got back to himself and beat father on the head”. On the question of whether Julian saw that the Jew received the food, the answer came negative. „If you have not seen it, well. But if someone saw that, then you will go to Auschwitz,” said the policeman. After this incident Grzesiowscy family still helped the Jews and gave them food.
Julian lived for another 50 years, always with a rosary in his pocket. It stayed in the family as a souvenir after a happy rescue.
- FLV, List od Teresy Zioło-Skałeckiej [wnuczka], [brak daty].
Felieton radiowy. Grzesiowscy Helena i Julian