Adamczyk Józef, ks.
Village Boże (Białobrzeski province) was a calm and a safe place during the occupation. One could say that its name became the symbol of the Providence. Some people of Jewish origin foun shelter there.
It was autumn, probably in 1942. Some siblings wandered in the vicinity of Boże. They escaped from the ghetto, but could not find a good shelter. The older girl was about 12 years old at the time. Even before the creation of the ghetto, the children saw a German officer setting their father’s beard on fire. When he struggled and tried to extinguish the flames, the Germans took pictures of him.
Children escaped from the ghetto along with their parents. Later, they witnessed their execution. Left on their own, during the day they hid on the fields. They suffered from hunger and fatigue. The oldest one in particular. She ordered her brother Beniek (around 5 years), together with their little sister (about 3 years) to go to the Church in the nearby villages. It was then that the children set out from Grabów to Boże.
In the evening, the sibling knocked on the Skowrońskis’ door. Stanisław was the headmaster of the public school, Located just near the church of Mother of God from Częstochowa. His wife Wanda, took the children in, fed them, bathed them and freed them from insects. For a few days, brother and sister stayed at Skowrońskis’ apartment. Benio played with Zbigniew, Skowrońskis’ son, who was the same age as him. The family’s father, however, was very disturbed. He knew very well, that for hiding Jews, his whole family might have faced death penalty.
One day, during a walk, the priest Józef Adamczyk noticed the children playing. He turned his attention to them: „Mrs Wanda! You should be careful. So many Germans lurking around, have you gone mad? You let those two Jews into the yard in the middle of the day?”1. The threat was real – someone from the village, for example, someone with affairs related to Stanisław’s school, could recognize Jewish children. Wanda was convinced by the priest to hide the children. They found a good hiding spot in the forest nearby. There they prepared the shelter, which they later camouflaged.
The priest Józef Adamczyk was a rector that cared a lot about the fate of others. When the German occupation began, he allowed people to bury their riches in the presbytery’s basement.
Siblings were moved to their hideout at nigh. After some time, they were joined by an older girl, who, with the help of the priest, found her brother and sister. Adviced by the Grabowa’s inhabitants, she went to the congregation in Boże.
The children hid there for several weeks. They were provided with warm clothing and food. From time to time, they went to Skowroński family, to eat a warm meal and to take a bath. Stanisław recalls: „These children, two girls and a boy, often came for food and clothing at night. We knew that for hiding Jews, or helping them, one could face the death penalty, but for those cold and hungry children, we were willing to take such a large risk”2,3.
Skowroński continues: „I remember one night, that after feeding all three of them with bread and hot milk, one of the girls suddenly fell ill and couldn’t leave the apartment. We were scared that someone will report on us, that we were not only feeding Jewish children, but also keeping them in our house. After a while, the girl felt better and returned to the hideout.
Housekeeper of priest Adamczyk, Stanisława Barszcz, knew about everything and also provided help for them. Another person directly exposed to the danger, was a teenage sister of Wanda, who then lived with Skowronski. However, she was neither informed nor involved in their activities.
After some time the Jewish siblings were moved 3 km further, to a safer place. Three years later, after the war, Wanda learned that of the three children, only two girls survived.
The war made people to seek more peaceful and quiet areas to stay. Boże seemed like such a place. During the occupation, the Smoliński family appeared in the village. Mr Smloiński used to be a lawyer, that ran his firm in Białobrzegi. He was very rich, and he didn’t hide it. He quickly made contact with the local educated people. His appearance, however, betrayed him. Thanks to his valuables, he acquired false identity documents. People who knew him, easily found out the truth. Mr Smoliński was very confident and convinced that he would be able to hide his origin. The news reached priest Adamczyk, who has often seen the lawyer receiving Holy Communion. Pan Smolinski did not, however, take part in other sacraments. Since Priest Adamczyk was devoted and to his faith, lawyer’s behaviour moved him deeply. He talked about his problems with Mr Pietraszewski and Skowronski. Son of Wanda and Stanisław quotes priest’s words: „Had he evaded the lawyer during the Holy Communion, the people would have started talking, gossiping and would eventually report him. By concealing his identity, he could have lost his life. He added, that the God won’t lose anything from this, and a human’s life can be saved.”4.
Thanks to the priest’s attitude, Mr and Mrs Smoliński survived the occupation.
- FLV, List od Haliny Adamczyk-Łabudy z Kielc, [brak daty].
- Skowroński Z., Odłowy z oceanu wspomnień, Komorniki 1995.
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