Witold Mączak (born February 6, 1925) lived in Oleszyce (Lubaczów province). When the German occupation began and Jews had to hide in fear of being killed, Witold undertook and developed an activity that was meant to save their lives. Lacking help, he involved Tadeusz and Zbigniew Gargas, Leon Kamiński, Jan Prędkiewicz and Kazimierz Grzęda. “[…] My father-in-law, old-fashioned, well-connected as a merchant, native Jarosłowianin, known to Mączak family from Oleszyce as someone very resourceful , but at the same time a person modest, discreet and of high moral standings. Witold Mączak saved the lives of about twenty people of Jewish origin.
“In the spring of 1942, Witold Mączak was visited by Ukrainian Koziej, who was sheltering two Jewess: Sala Katz and Cyla Grynwald, in his garden, inside the dugout. As Koziej couldn’t shelter them anymore, he asked Mączak for help. Pole took both women to his parents’ house”. Zbigniew and Kazimierz Grzęda from Jarosław helped Witold get false documents for both Jewess. Leading to them going to Germany for labour, directed there by the Arbeitsamt in Jarosław.
Tadeusz had a great gift for forging reliable documents. Clean blankets were provided to him by Zbigniew. “ Soon after, another Jewish woman appeared in the Mączak’s house. Her name was Machla Wertmanvel Blejberg. She escaped from one of the transports to the death camp in Bełżec”. She also received false documents.
Over the course of days, the homes of Gargas, Kamiński, Grzęda, Prędkiewicz and Mączak became a stop for Jews during their escape from the Ghetto in Lubaczów. After getting their forged papers, refugees were most likelysent to Germany for labour. “ Our transportation couldn’t always be synchronized with the one going from Arbeitsamt in Jarosław to Germany. – recalled Mączkowski – that’s why some of the Jewess were held in Jarosław for several days, staying with Zbigniew and Tadeusz Gargas, Tadeusz Grzęda and Kamiśki family.” Witold Mączak was awarded by the Yad Vashem Institute with the prestigious title of Righteous Among the Nations.
- E. Rączy, I. Witowicz, Polacy ratujący Żydów na Rzeszowszczyźnie 1939-1945, Rzeszów 2008.
- FLV, List od Krystyny Grzędy, Jarosław, 29.01.2014 r.
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