After entering the city Lviv, German soldiers discovered in the town about 160 thousand Jews. Many people of Jewish origin arrived here from the General government. On 1st of September 1939 the number got lower for about 1/3. When soldiers left Lviv in 1944, there were only about 700 Jews – the majority of them survived with the help from Poles and part was recruited in German companies.
Among the Poles who provided help for Jewish population were Jadwiga Zofia– wife of major Dr. Kaziemirz Szostakiewicz and her daughter Janina. In the summer of 1942 Jadwiga invited to her apartment Zofia Marciniszyn. Soon after it became known that Zofia is Jewish and that she is actually named Kamila Kroch, from family Mildwurm. This information changed nothing in the relations of Jadwiga with Zofia.
In her statement, Janina recalls that „[Jadwiga] said she cannot take on her conscience the death of a person and if something happens, then we’ll be together in it”. Jadwiga after establishing contact with Władysława Chomsowa, the activist in undeground „Żegota” organization, took to her house another Jewish family. It was about 38-year-old Maria Lustig from Brody village, who hid under the name of Maria Gawlicka together with her 12-year-old son, whom for safety reason was dressed as a girl, Inka Gawlicka.
In the summer of 1943 Kamila Kroch found out that someone told the Gestapo about her 14-year-old daughter Alicja. The girl was hiding in another part of town, under the name of Janina Marciniszyn. The woman decided to voluntarily surrender into the hands of the Gestapo – it was her way of trying to distract them and rescue the child. When Janina Szostakiewicz, activist from Home Army, get to know about Kamila’s intentions, she went to the specified address. Alicja in her postwar statement describes the situation: „In the beginning of the Nazi occupation I was living at Mrs. Jadwiga’s house, I can’t recall her surname, on the street Kadecka. Once came to us two men dressed in civilian clothes, took my baptism certificate, asked me many questions from the catechism, and then went to check the authenticity of the data in the ward, announcing that the will return. However, before them came to me a young lady and said, „come with me, I’ll take You where you need to be”. On the street I said, „won’t you lead me to the Gestapo?” „Don’t worry, I’m from your Mom” ‒was the answer. It was Janka, who has since then remained with me in constant contact, and after another complaints on me, took me to other temporary shelters.”
Janina was Jadwiga’s liaison who worked with Żegota. She supplied selected places with the Aryan documents, food and other things.
In May of 1944 to Jadiwga’s apartment came Gestapo. They were looking for a Jewish family, who was hiding at Szostakiewiczs’ house. Jadwiga was severely beaten, but did not betray the whereabouts of the women and didn’t tell about two Jewish families, staying in her apartment.
Family Kroch, Lustig and Szostakiewicz went through a difficult period of the German occupation and lived to see the liberation of Lviv in 1944. Maria Lustig along with her son moved to Israel. Kamila Kroch and her daughter stayed with their surname from occupation time „Marciniszyn”. They settled in Cracow and after the war they stayed in contact with the Szostakiewicz family. Kamila in the post-war letter wrote with gratitude: „Janeczko, my dear, I think very often about You my dear, I think, and always remember how much you’ve done for me. You’re always dear to me, I got the same mood for You as before. In my memory you’re still that little, beautiful girl with a pinched nose, a large and capable to sacrifice heart of gold. I often tell friends about you, how you were different than all the girls your age, as your personality was better and mature. Which you were everything to me, I will never, while I live, forget.”
On 5th of August 1992 The Institute Yad Vashem awarded Jadwiga Szostakiewicz and her daughter Janina with the title of the Righteous Among the Nations.
- FLV, List od Zofii i Marii Szostakiewicz (list od Kamili Marciniszyn).
- FLV, List od Zofii i Marii Szostakiewicz (oświadczenie Janiny Kaźmierczak z 01.08.1990 r.).
- FLV, Letter from Sofia and Maria Szostakiewicz (certificate of Ioannina Szostakiewicz at Jadwigi Szostakiewicz z 1990 r.).
- FLV, List od Zofii i Marii Szostakiewicz (relacja Janiny Szostakiewicz z 1990 r).
- J. Zieliński, Zagłada Żydów lwowskich podczas hitlerowskiej okupacji Lwowa (1941-1944), [strona internetowa:] http://www.www.lwow.home.pl/semper/zaglada.html, dostęp: 22.06.2017 r.
No extra materials