„I was born in Izbica. My parents and grandparents had a mill and a small farm. Before the war, the village of Izbica was inhabited by the Jewish population in 90% and Polish population in 10%”.1 German occupation led to Izbica becoming a transit ghetto. Transports of Jews were brought there from Austria, Germany, France, Czechoslovakia and Poland. „As a teenage girl, together with my friends, we went to the train station carrying bread, tea, milk and water. Hungry children and elders reached for the food. Sometimes the Germans drove us away, but it worked most of the time”.2
Babiarz family led a small farm and a mill in Izbica. Kazimiera Babiarz (Maiden name Bobis, born 21st of February 1905) lived with her husband and children at Maksymilian Kronland street. Their housing was located about 200 metres from the Gestapo outpost. From the window in their mill, one could see Jews being killed at the meadows behind their headquarters.
Kurt Engels was an exceptionally brutal executioner that sowed terror among the inhabitants. „Because my parents lived in Izbica their whole life, they were friends with many of the Jewish families, who having no food often asked them for help. They never left empty-handed”.3 When Hanan Lipszyc (born in 1928) came to their house, they hid him. „Kazimiera’s decision to hide him was quick and made without consulting her husband, who wasn’t home at the time”.4 Cellar in which they stored potatoes became Hanan’s hiding place. That’s where they prepared bedding for him. „Lipszyce lived in Izbica on the Targowa street. Henoch’s mother made her living by baking and selling onion cakes, and Henoch came to the mill to get flour from Mrs Błaszczyk”.5 Hanna’s family suffered a tragic fate. Almost everyone died in Bełżec. Brothers Lipszycowie went into hiding. The eldest of them took Hanan to the Babiarz family, where he began working as a shepherd. At night, he returned to his brother. For his work he received money, that allowed him to survive.
On 1st of November 1942 Germans carried out a round-up in Izbica. Brothers were arrested along with the other Jews. They were told to stay in the meadow near the railway station in Izbica. Jews waited for the cars for two days. But it didn’t happen. The Gestapo Officer, Kurt Engles, rode among the Jews, and they had to throw all their valuables into the bucket. „After three days, when the train still didn’t arrive, all these people were locked in the cinema. There were so many of them, that people could only stand”.6 Babiarz Family lived relatively close to the theatre. Mieczysław and Kazimiera heard moans and screams coming from there. Even though they were guarded by Blue-Navy police, Hanan managed to escape. He directed his first steps to the Babierzów family, where he found safe haven. His older brother was executed at the Jewish cemetery on 2 February 1942. „In the spring, Hanan made a hideout in the wood prepared for the house, next to the cellar. He left it during the night to spend some time with the man guarding the mill”.7
One night, the Germans entered the Babiarzów’s territory. Caretaker lied that he didn’t know what was going on. The Germans conducted the search. „They searched through the straw and hay with no success. Hanan jumped behind the cows and hid under the through. Cows, fearing the light, grouped together, covering him. Hanan jumped behind the cows and hid under the through. Cows, fearing the light, grouped together, covering him”.8 Germans didn’t find the boy, so they went into the house and put everyone under the wall. „Father was terribly beaten, and the caretaker was arrested for few days. Grandpa was able to buy out his freedom for a large sum of money. All of it was only possible, because the executioner Engels was not there”.9
Hanan survived the German occupation and later moved to Israel. From there, he often contacted with Babiarz family. He was very grateful for their help. „I went with my mother, and through the crack in the fence I saw her laying in a pool of blood, next to the scattered food – this view I will never forget”, said Halina Błaszczyk. It was thanks to his submission to the Yad Vashem Institute, that Maksymilian and Kazimiera Babiarz were awarded with the title of Righteous Among the Nations of the World.
Halina Błaszczyk (maiden name Babiarz), daughter of Kazimiera, mentions other people of Jewish Origin that lived in house: „Our often guest was a 5 years older than me, Pelcówna. She sewed dolls for me, which made both of us happy. Jewess came for food everyday, and disappeared immediately”1011.
„One day, my father came home upset shortly after her departure, and said that she was killed.” The crime was committed by the Gestapo officer Engels. „I went with my mother, and through the crack in the fence I saw her laying in a pool of blood, next to the scattered food – this view I will never forget”, said Halina Błaszczyk12.
- FLV, K. Jaworska, „Kto ratuje jedno życie…”: opowieść o Halinie Błaszczyk, Sprawiedliwej wśród Narodów Świata, b.d.
- FLV, List z relacją od Haliny Błaszczyk, Zamość, 13.02.2015 r.
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