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This week we had the pleasure of meeting with Mrs. Barbara Kaczyńska in Piaseczno, who told us the story of her aunt Izabela Umecka from Piaseczno who helped a Jewish family.

Isabella has carefully opened the door. She didn’t expect anyone that day, so a modest knock on the door made her curious and worried. On the doorstep of the Piaseczno house there was… misery. Three hungry, cold, frightened people tired of escaping from the Germans. A married couple with a tiny child. – Will you hide us? – a timid question was asked. – We have no place to hide – a woman threw in a weak voice. „Jews,” thought Izabela. – Come in,” she invited the strangers inside. – You will eat something, and then we will think about what to do next…”, the Polish woman suggested, looking at the unknown family with compassion. Before she locked the door, she discreetly looked around to check if anyone was watching. „I think everything is all right” – she calmed down a little bit and invited guests to the kitchen. However, her thoughts started to flow through her head like crazy. „God, give me a calm heart and a wise decision,” she prayed in her thoughts. When the peace of minde came down on her, the idea appeared in her head: „I will put them in the basement. I will organize a hiding place for them there.

And that’s what actually happened. Isabella regularly checked the people in hiding to made sure they weren’t hungry. Melania, a Pole who was also given a shelter by Izabela, helped her a lot in meals preparation. Melania cooked for her benefactor, as well as the Jewish family and for other poor people living in the area.

Days and weeks went by. One day the Germans unexpectedly barged into Mrs. Umecka’s apartment. – Revision – they screamed. They were searching inch by inch. – There it is! – Suddenly one of them shouted. In the cradle he found a hidden radio. That’s all and that much… – You will come with us – they turned to Mrs. Izabela – to the jail.

Ultimately, Isabela was sent to Auschwitz. She returned from there after many months. However, there was no one else at home. „What happened to the Jewish family? – she was wondering. However, she never found out what happened to the three hidden in the basement.


A house in Piaseczno


Instytut Pamięć i Tożsamość im. Jana Pawła II

Public task co-financed by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs as part of the Public Diplomacy 2017 contest in the ’Cooperation in public diplomacy 2017’ category.

This publication expresses its author’s views which cannot be equated with the official stance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland.”

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