Józefa Czort lived with her parents, brothers and sisters in the village of Piaski Wielkie near Cracow. The surrounding population was engaged in butchery and meat production. After the war the residents of the village established the Committee for the Care of Victims of War. Its head became the vicar of the parish – priest Franciszek Dźwigoński. In March 1940 the priest made contact with the Council of State Care in Cracow and became its delegate. He was the organizer and chaplain of the troops of the National Army in those territories.

He also organized support in sending food and monetary donations for the needs of army units and for Jews in the Cracow ghetto. Józefa took an active part in collecting food and financial donations. They were packing a big bags and bringing them to Council’s Main Concerns in Cracow. The help of women in underground collections lasted until she married, that is until 5th of October 1941.

After the wedding Józefa began to accompany her husband and Józef Żurek in the supplies of meat to the ghetto. Józef Biernat and Józef Żurek were also supporting with meat and insurance premiums cash for Home Army units which were operating in the same area. Thanks to them, one of the units was able to purchase the radio station „wisła”, from which they reported about bestiality of the Nazis in Auschwitz. Józef also passed donations for the needs of Sport Club „Orzeł.” Players were recruited from the guerrilla Home Army. During trainings and selections were exchanged important informations without making any suspicions of the occupier.

In organized meat delivery actions for the ghetto and for the units of the Home Army helped also: Józefa’s brothers (Józef and Julian Czorowie), Augustyn Lasoń, Adam Wajda and Stanisław Chlipała.

To Biernat’s to obtain meat also came neighobur from next street, Cecylia Rewilak. Woman hid with her husband, Tadeusz; three Jewish escapees from the camp in Płaszów. For saving their lives Tadeusz Rewilak was recognized by the Institute Yad Vashem as the Righteous among the Nations of the World.

The action of organized assistance ended on the night of 20/21 January 1944. Józef Biernat, Józef Żurek, Józef and Julian Czortowie, Adam Wajda as usual went to obtain cattle in Niedzielsk village. Always after their return, butchers from the Piaski Wielkie village helped them in the meat processing. But on this day the men did not return to the village. On their way back they were arrested by German gendarmes in Niepołomice. It turned out that it was prepared ambush. Józef Czort and Adam Wajda were shot while trying to escape. The rest of the men were taken to jail in Bochnia, and then were beaten in the prison at Montelupich street in Cracow. Men were asked about adresses to which they were bringing food.

Julian Czort was taken from Cracow to the camp for juveniles in Prussia. After a few days the boy managed to escape and return home. Józef Żurek was sent to the camp Gross-Rosen from which he was liberated by American army. Fate of Józef Biernat was tragic. In arrest on Montelupich street, he was sentenced to death. The place of execution remains unknown.

Józefa was left alone with her less-than-2-year-old son, Mieczysław. She tried to save her husband and spent for that purposes a lot of money. However it gave her no results. About where are buried the remains of her husband, a woman learned only from Mr. Markevich: “[…] he stated that he recognized the man as he helped him to obtain meat for his restaurant. After the execution he was chose by officers to help them to transport the bodies to camp in Płaszów, where they were buried along with shot Jews. The leaders of German officers then expressed it: „As they helped them, they have to lie down together with them now.”


  1. FLV, List od Mieczysława Biernata (Odpis oświadczenia świadka Mariana Jędy, Kraków, 10.09.2006 r.), Kraków, 04.11.2013 r.
  2. FLV, List od Mieczysława Biernata (Odpis oświadczenia świadka Józefa Żurka, Kraków, 06.03.2007 r.), Kraków, 04.11.2013 r.
  3. FLV, List od Mieczysława Biernata (Relacja Mariana Jędy, Kraków), Kraków, 04.11.2013 r.
  4. FLV, List od Mieczysława Biernata (Relacja Józefy Szczurowskiej, Kraków, 22.09.2013 r.), Kraków, 04.11.2013 r.
  5. FLV, List od Mieczysława Biernata (Relacja Józefa Żurka, Kraków, 06.05.2006 r.), Kraków, 04.11.2013 r.