Stanislaw Gacon lived with his wife Apolonia (nee Stasiowska) between Bukowa* village and Januszkowice village (near Jaslo). The couple had no children. Prior to going to the ghetto, the Korzennik family from Opacionka left their little daughter with Gacon’s. The girl’s name was Rajsa Zelik**, although she was called Stanislawa. They arranged for fake documents for her.
Rajsa lived with Stanislaw and Apolonia for several months. The Gacons explained to their neighbours that the girl was their relative. The Gestapo in Jaslo found out about her hiding – in the area there lived paid informers. The Gacons were warned through Tomasz Baran, the manager of the local estate owner. Baran told them that the Germans knew the case and it would be better if Stanislaw and Apolonia got rid of the child. The couple rejected this suggestion.
On 28 May 1943, the Germans, including Karl Hauch, came to the Gacons farm. They took Apolonia and Rajsa out of the house and brutally beat them, as a result of which the girl died. Apolonia was shot dead. Stanislaw was absent at that time. He was killed as soon as he returned to the farm***. Their corpses were thrown into the pits that the village leader and other villagers buried.
In the end, the Germans plundered the Gacons estate. „[…] this house is no longer there, there is still the place where the girl stayed, […] because those, her uncle and her other husband were exhumed after the war and brought to the cemetery in Wrzosko, and the girl stayed there, there is still some mark, but for a long time […] there was this mark” (FLV, audio recording, ref. 811_0439, account by Eugeniusz Kowalski [cousin] of 16.01.2014, original record).
* Bukowa (6 km from Januszkowice – cf: Those Who Helped. Polish Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust, ed. R. Walczak, part 3, Warsaw 1997, p. 66 and the website straty.pl (accessed April 17, 2015).
** In Those Who Helped… and Those Who Risked Their Lives, edited by A. Poray, Chicago 2007, p. 25, we read that the girl was 13 months old; while the Register of Facts of Repression against Polish Citizens for Aid to the Jewish People during World War II, Institute of National Remembrance, edited by A. Namysło, G. Berendt, Warsaw 2014, p. 367, states that she was about 10 years old. Eugeniusz Kowalski spoke about the four-year-old – cf. FLV, Gacoń, audio recording, no. 811_0439, account by Eugeniusz Kowalski [cousin] of 16.01.2014. The name of Rajsa za: FLV, Gacoń, audio recording, ref. 811_0301, coverage by Eugeniusz Kowalski [cousin] of 20.01.2014. In another source – Ryfka, see Godly Sons of our Homeland, ed. J. Chodorska CSL, part 2, Warsaw 2002, p. 60.
*** According to the certificate contained in – The Decent sons…- Stanisław and Apolonia died at the same time.
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