Kazimierz and Maria Czaplinski with their children
Kazimierz and Maria Czapliński, together with their children Andrzej and Zuzanna (married name Adamowicz), lived in Vilnius on Witoldowa Street. In the autumn of 1941, Kazimierz was approached by the family’s former neighbour, a Jewish woman called Fruma Błoch, who asked them to hide her. When the Vilnius ghetto was established in 1941, Fruma and her husband found themselves there. After some time, the woman managed to escape from there to the Czaplińskis, who agreed to take her in. Fruma’s husband had died earlier in the ghetto. In the spring of 1942, at the request of Mrs. Błoch, Kazimierz brought her friend Jakub Bronsoft, who had also managed to escape from the ghetto, to the flat. Then, in the summer, the two hiding Jews were joined by another fugitive from the ghetto – Jakub’s wife: Ernestyna. Unfortunately, the Czaplińskis’ neighbours began to suspect after a while that they were sheltering Jews. In order to avoid possible arrest, Kazimierz, together with his family and those in hiding, decided to move. In 1942, all seven of them moved to a single-family house in Kolonia Magistracka (today part of Vilnius). There, in one of the rooms, they built a bunker in which they could hide in case of danger. In the autumn of 1943, Ernestyna and Jakub informed the Czaplinskis that they were expecting a child. At the Bronsofts’ request, Kazimierz and his wife pretended that it was Maria who was expecting. In the spring of 1944, when a baby was born to the Bronsofts, Kazimierz registered the boy at the municipal office as his own and gave him the name Gabriel Czaplinski. Thanks to the commitment of all the members of the Czapliński family, all four Jewish people hidden in their house managed to survive until the liberation of the area in July 1944. After the war, Jakub changed his name to Stanisław Braniewicz and, together with his family, remained in contact with the Czaplinskis until they went abroad. Fruma, on the other hand, remained close friends with her saviours for many years.
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