Zalesie k. Lubaczowa
During the German occupation, the life of the Balawendr family from Zalesie (Oleszyce, Lubaczow district) happened in one room. Although the house was bigger in the designs, however, the war time was not encouraging to finish the construction. Behind the wall there was a second chamber, quite special. There was a box for transporting potatoes, the so-called wangun. It was very important. And not so much because of the potatoes themselves, but because of the… three Jews, who had this chest over their heads. They were hiding in a shelter dug under the floor. Entrances to this shelter were guarded by this seemingly ordinary wangun. From the end of 1943 to March of the following year, Cioma, Flajszer and Dekiel, men aged 30-35, used this hiding place, from time to time they went out to stay a while ” on the surface”. Tadek, the son of Feliks and Wiktoria (nee Szpunar), stood on guard at that time, while the housewife and her daughter, Janina, prepared a meal for those people. Stanisław, the oldest son of the Balavenders, was not with them – the Germans deported him to forced labour in the Reich. The spring of ’44 came, and with it… the Gestapo and the Ukrainian police. „They searched the buildings, but found no shelter. Somebody informed them, I suppose, that father is hiding Jews, and although they didn’t find a shelter, they arrested my father. Me too, by the way. – … recalls Tadeusz. During the interrogation, Felix told them about the chest and the shelter. The Germans rammed into the house like a lightning storm. But nobody was hidden in the hiding place anymore. A week after these events Victoria was also arrested. Everyone was in the custody in Lubaczow. After the insistent requests of Janina, who was not able to manage on her own on the farm, and thanks to the mediation of Felix’ brother Jan Balawender, who knew the German language, Tadeusz was released. Fearing the UPA, the siblings fled beyond the San river. After some time a tragic news reached them: Felix and Wiktoria, their parents, after cruel torture for their help to people of Jewish origin, were shot in Rawa Ruska on 30 June 1944.
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