2nd Revised Edition
This book focuses on the fate of Polish Jews and Polish-Jewish relations during the Holocaust and its aftermath, in the ill-recognized era of Eastern-European pogroms after the WW2. It is based on the author’s own ethnographic research in those areas of Poland where the Holocaust machinery operated. The results comprise the anthropological interviews with the members of the generation of Holocaust witnesses and the results of her own extensive archive research in the Polish Institute for National Remembrance (IPN).
«[This book] is at times shocking; however, it grips the reader’s attention from the first to the last page. It is a remarkable work, set to become a classic among the publications in this field.»
Jerzy Jedlicki, Professor Emeritus at the Institute of History of the Polish Academy of Sciences
Chapter 5: “Our Class”, in Klimontów Sandomierski
Chapter 5:“Our Class”, in Klimontów Sandomierski
A historian reviewing pre-war class registers in Klimontów Sandomierski archives can observe the universality of a Polish historical image that Tadeusz Słobodzianek draws on by placing his drama about Jedwabne in a classroom.
Marking sheets from Elementary School No. 1 in Klimontów, dating from 1922–1939, contain almost all the names relevant to our story. School year 1931/32 includes the report card of Aron [Abram] Złotnicki (born 16 March 1924, son of Herszl, a merchant1), who will be killed by Poles2 on the night of 16–17 May 1945 in a house on Sandomierska Street.
Years later, a local historian will accuse Abram of disclosing proscription lists containing names of Polish patriots3 to the NKVD. However, Klimontów residents interviewed by a journalist4 and several ethnographers5 will not corroborate this, recalling ‘Jabrom’ as someone who had ‘a big mouth’, and ‘would always speak his mind’, expecting the Poles to vacate Jewish properties after the war.6 Five other people will die with him in the house on Sandomierska Street: ←187 | 188→Szyja7 Lederman, aged 35; his brother Chil, 28, owner of a mill;8 and Chaim and Rywka Pęczyna, a couple expecting a child, whose names do not appear in the school registers.
However, the registers do include the marks of their Polish friends/murderers. From this point of view, school year 1931/1932 seems the most interesting. In that year, classrooms in Klimontów were so overcrowded they numbered as many as fifty pupils. Besides the Zylberbergs (this is the family of Lejb Zylberberg, author of a diary Żyd klimontowski opowiada [Stories of a Klimontów Jew]; his report card is included in Class VI, school year 1928/1929, where he is referred to as Lejbcze Zylberberg, born 2 September 1921, son of Chaskiel) and the Pęczynas (after the Zylberbergs and the Ledermans, the third most popular surname in Klimontów), Class III.B included Wacław Witaszek, born in 1921, son of a Klimontów carpenter, later a cabinet-maker himself, and during the war a member of AK, with noms de guerre Feliks Dubiel and Rzymianin.9
His brother Jan Witaszek10 “Lipa” (a friend of Abram Złotnik’s, and according to one testimony a member of the so-called “Lotna”, a group operating as part of NSZ11, but according to another testimony a member of a group with the same name within AK12), was accused of committing atrocities in Cebrze, Kielce province; these included ‘gouging out eyes, cutting off ears, ripping out ←188 | 189→tongues’.13 After the war, both brothers joined a gang of robbers (or, according to Jerzy Władysław Więckowski, an underground resistance ‘post-AK squad’14), led by Jan Batorski “Orzech” (death sentence in 1947), owner of the restaurant from which the group that shot the Jews had set out for Sandomierska Street. This very group was in 1945–1946 infamous for its robberies of co-operatives and MO stations in Klimontów and the surrounding area. The whole group was arrested and convicted; however, the sentence was based solely on its attacks on the militias, as the murder of Jews from April 1945 was excluded from the indictment due to an incompetently conducted investigation. To this day, the windows of the house on Sandomierska Street display apotropaic devotional symbols, as if someone still wished to keep away the spirits of the Jews.
The case files of the murder in Sandomierska Street contain allegations that the Witaszek brothers committed the crime together with the Sierant and Przybylski brothers, who became part of the town elite after the war. These individuals, as we can read in a poorly formulated militia report, ‘as active members (…) of the organization [AK] were suspected by local inhabitants of pillaging and looting after the expulsion of Jews […], along with Przybylski Józef [“Granat”]15 and Przybylski Tadeusz’.16 This is what
Father Tomasz Zadęcki, the then priest [in Klimontów], wrote in the parish chronicle about this topic: “After the departure of the Jews [he means the dissolution of the ghetto], a group of people, the so-called miners, was formed. At night, they walked around the post-Jewish houses with mattocks, iron bars […], breaking walls, tile stoves, digging in basements and pulling out concealed Jewish valuables: money, textiles, leather, etc. The whole of Klimontów has now started to drink, to get drunk – after all, they had the ←189 | 190→funds – the plague of drunkenness started to prevail among the youth, who have now become arrogant and rude…”.17
From all the Sierants mentioned in the documentation regarding the murder on Sandomierska Street, Damian, son of a farmer from Klimontów, receives the most frequent mention; his behavior in the school year 1931/1932, in Class II.B was evaluated as excellent. The Przybylskis were represented by Józef, son of a bricklayer, from Class II.A, whose behavior was also evaluated as excellent, even though he barely managed to pass his Religion class. Like most participants on both sides of the incident, both of them were 20 years old in 1943.
Eight years later, Daniel Sierant “Sikora” became a secret collaborator of the Ministry of Public Security, and it is because of this that we have detailed information about his life: ‘I did my electrician’s traineeship at the beginning of the occupation with Milsztajn the Jew […] without demanding any remuneration for the work as a trainee’18. After the war, WUBP were also interested in the other ‘boy from the woods’, Józef Przybylski “Granat”. In 1945, just after the murder in Sandomierska Street, the militia were chasing Przybylski; they even shot him in the neck and in the arm during the chase.19 It was actually him and his brother who were the subject of all the anonymous letters sent to the police station in Klimontów, the Israeli Embassy, the Institute of National Remembrance, and the Jewish Historical Institute from 1991 to 2008. The letters alleged that ‘by harassing Jews, [the Przybylskis] made a large fortune.’ All the letters ended with warnings such as: ‘We do not sign the letters, as these people remain dangerous to this day’; ‘they control everything around here.’20
In the 1990’s, this case became the subject of yet another investigation, just as negligent as all the previous ones. Information was sought on Józef Przybylski as ←190 | 191→a presumed perpetrator of the murder of Klimontów Jews. However, it was only ascertained that
as if in return for accepting the role of a UB informer, he was not going to be held accountable for this crime. As an informer, he allegedly caused problems to many residents of Klimontów. – Currently, he has “reinvented” himself in the political and ideological sense, which is expressed by a very ostentatious and zealous participation in religious ceremonies, e.g. being a standard-bearer in Church processions.21
Another anonymous letter, delivered to the authorities in 2008, complements this picture with information that ‘Józef Przybylski appointed himself the AK chairman’.22
A Klimontów resident, referred to as ‘grandma Lasotowa’ (daughter of Jan and Janina – the school files include also her report cards) by the interviewees, said that besides the murder victims in Sandomierska Street, Sierant and Przybylski also killed their schoolmate, Chaskiel Lederman, a Jewish boy from the neighborhood, whom Lasotowa was trying to shelter during the war. When she was widowed and could not provide an appropriate ‘cover’, nevertheless having to bring up two little daughters,
she asked this boy to find another hiding-place. Unfortunately, he was caught. And not even by Germans, but by Poles. They killed him in the woods [at Byszówka], even though the boy was appealing to their friendly affections – because they used to play together.23
‘We ate with one spoon, and you want to kill me? – he allegedly said to his murderer, a childhood friend.’24 Checking the class registers of the Elementary School in Klimontów, we find Chaskiel Lederman, son of Majer and Cypa, born in 1926; he definitely attended the same class, VI.A, as Damian and Bogusław Sierant, and also Tadeusz, a relative of the Witaszeks. He was not a very good student. There is a note next to his name: ‘poor knowledge of the Polish language, poor mental capacities, and on top of that lazy, negligent, and dirty.’25 Only his behavior was graded as excellent.←191 | 192→
Another Klimontów school pupil from Class II.A, whose behavior was likewise evaluated as excellent, was Szmul Pęczyna (born in 1923,26 son of a merchant), before the war owner of the mill in Trzykosy, which he ceded to a Pole in exchange for a hiding-place. According to the testimony of his nephew, Zelman Baum, and other local residents, ‘the neighbor accepted the mill, but shot Szmul dead all the same.’27 The register of post-war owners of mills originally belonging to Jews lists Stanisław Skrzek and his son-in-law Edward Śliwiński28 as owners of Szmul’s mill. Before the war, Edward Śliwinski was a policeman; after the war, he joined the Polish Socialist Party. This was the person whom Zelman Baum, in his testimony mentioned above, accused of murdering the Jews. Śliwiński was allegedly taking ‘a weekly payment from all the Jews in the town of Koprzywnica and privately from us for not turning Jews in.’29 Baum, who describes him as his ‘best friend before the war,’ gives a detailed account of his attack on a bunker that served as a hiding-place for Jews. Śliwiński allegedly said to the besieged: ‘There are only two of you, and after all, I’m your old friend, I won’t hurt you, you can trust me.’30
In the school year 1922/1923, class VII (parallel to that of Szmul Pęczyna) includes also Pesla Pęczyna, daughter of Jankiel, a Klimontów merchant, the heiress of a mill in Sandomierz-Chwałki. Two days before the murders of the Jews took place, she had decided to leave town.31 Half a year earlier, 2 weeks before the Red Army marched in, Pesla had lost her husband Józef, who was murdered by the Poles who were sheltering him.32 Józef was killed together with two Soviet soldiers – we will return to this incident later – and was succeeded at the mill by Wacław Sierant – a familiar figure – who rented it from Pesla Pęczyna.33
In 1933 and 1934, also Józef and Marian Osuch, born in 1918 and 1917 respectively in Nowa Wieś, municipality of Jurkowice, graduated from Klimontów Elementary School. They both made careers in the underground movement as ←192 | 193→members of BCh and AK, whose “Lotna” units were merged just before the end of the war. The level of antisemitism among the troops is shown in a shocking book published in the 1990s by Włodzimierz Gruszczyński,34 one of the Sandomierz “Lotna” fighters.
Józef Osuch “Rydz” was the mayor of Obrazów and the BCh District commander [komendant gminny] during the war. ‘In September 1943 […] the BCh Special Unit, numbering 15 fighters under the command of Wacław Tutak “Brzoza”, started operating in Obrazów and the surrounding area; in April 1944, they were incorporated into the BCh unit “Lotna” [commanded by Mieczysław Wałek “Salerno”35].’36 The war-time atmosphere of the Klimontów countryside is reenacted in the memories of the activity of BCh members in the area of Obrazów, especially the actions of Józef and Jan37 Osuch, Józef Tutak, and Mieczysław Wałek ←193 | 194→“Salerno”. The following is an account given by Bolesław Pyszniak, who in 1950 was interviewed as a witness in the case against Stanisław Szwarc-Bronikowski, commander of an underground resistance unit based in Jugoszów38 (an investigation regarding the murders of Soviet paratroopers, not the murders of the Jews):
Wacław Tutak “Brzoza”, he was a man with a low level of morality, simply a bully and a racketeer […] he got married in Jugoszów, municipality of Obrazów […] and that’s where a number of murders of soldiers who ran away from the Red Army, and of individuals of Jewish nationality were committed, and these murders have not been solved to this day […] And so at Jawiak Franciszek’s in Jugoszów, three Polish citizens of Jewish nationality were in hiding, along with two Red Army soldiers, who had escaped from Nazi captivity and in 1943, I don’t remember the exact date, they were murdered […] [he enumerates those present at the time of the murder]. Also at Jurkowski Józef ’s in Jugoszów, there were a few individuals of Jewish nationality hiding there, who were murdered in 194439 […] I think that the local BCh commander, Osuch Józef, who was the mayor of Obrazów during the occupation, should be suspected of these murders40. Also, as far as I know, in the village of Bilcza, municipality of Obrazów […] in the autumn of 1943 […], [some Jews were killed] by an unknown underground resistance group, which was supposed to include Dąbrowski Wiktor from Bilcza. This murder was ←194 | 195→committed on a Saturday night near the school in Bilcza. Three persons, Jewesses, were murdered, and one Jew ran away and was hiding, wounded, in the meadows near the village of Zalaszów, municipality of Obrazów. The perpetrators brought the murdered Jewesses to the road leading to Zdanów, and laid them down at the statue. The following day, perpetrators unknown to me arrived at the surroundings of Zdanów on bicycles and committed the murder of that Jew who was wounded and hiding. I heard that this Jew was finished off by Wojna […] from the village of Żuków near Goźlice, municipality of Klimontów […]. Also, another murder of Jews was committed at Bogdański Marceli’s in the village of Krobielice, municipality of Klimontów […], these Jews were brought to be hidden there by Bajur Władysław from the village of Szymanowice, municipality of Jurkowice41 […], the Jews, on the other hand, were supposed to come from Opatów. I don’t exactly know who committed this murder, but I think it was committed by Bogdański Marceli. This murder was committed in the spring of 1943. After this murder, partisans started to visit Bogdański, asking him to give back the belongings of the murdered Jews. But then Bajur Władysław from Szymanowice, as commander of the AK organization in this area, told the partisans to stop bothering Bogdański Marceli, as he is Bogdański’s brother-in-law, and so Tutak Wacław’s [“Burza” in BCh] fighters stopped visiting Bogdański Marceli. [Gives names of witnesses present at the time of the murders.] In the village of Krzeczkowice, municipality of Klimontów […] a Polish citizen of Jewish nationality was murdered and there was word that there were more victims at Osmala Błażej’s, whose sons were members of the underground resistance troops42 […] They buried the Jew whom they had murdered in Bociek Wincenty’s field near Nasławice, municipality of Klimontów […] Bociek dug this Jew up and brought him on his horse to Osmala’s yard, where he said: “You took the property, so take the body, too.” Osmala Błażej and his son are responsible for this murder. I also know that at Greda’s and his son-in-law’s, Czerwiński’s, […] residing in the village of Piekary, municipality of Obrazów, a murder of Polish citizens of Jewish nationality was committed, but how many were murdered there and by whom, I don’t know that. I also know about the subversive activities of a BCh unit under the command of Wałek Mieczysław, also known as Salerno43, who got married in Ryłowice, municipality of Klimontów […] this Wałek came to my house in person, with the troops he commanded, asking to hand over ←195 | 196→the sheltered Jews. When I told him that I did not keep Jews in hiding, as indeed [I did not], he afterward, together with the partisans he commanded, completely demolished my household, and then he ordered me to give him post-Jewish property. When I told him that I didn’t own such property, he robbed me of everything in my house and beat me up in a brutal way, breaking my ribs, and he was torturing my children in order to get at the Jews, but they didn’t find any Jews. They went to see mayor Chuchnowski, he had no Jews either. Salerno was with: Mordka, I don’t know his first name, resident in Krzeczkowice, Płaza Henryk and another Płaza, I don’t know his first name44, res. in Krzeczkowice, Żuber45, I don’t know his first name, currently res. in Górki, Paciura, I don’t know his first name, res. in Krzeczkowice, and Kwasek Stefan from Janowice, municipality of Klimontów […]. This happened on June 27, 1943.
In his account, Pyszniak refers to Jews in hiding as if they were goods which are traded46. You can ‘bring them’ to someone’s house – like to a junk-shop – as was allegedly done by AK Sub-district commander Wacław Bajur, who brought them into his brother-in-law Bogdański’s house, and subsequently protected him from the BCh fighters, hungry for the ‘Jewish gold’ squeezed out of them. ←196 | 197→This constitutes an unexpected reversal of the figure of the Bloodsucker, a role which was usually attributed to Jews.47
This narration shows that ‘keeping Jews’ was a “seasonal” activity, somewhat akin to keeping animals. It was supposed to last as long as there were conditions for it: for as long as the Jews had money or for as long as one was brave enough to face the risk. The Jews were then killed in a “farm fashion” (with a pitchfork48 or an axe49); alternatively, the killings were delegated to specialists – the partisans or the militia (like in Lejb Zylberberg’s testimony50).
Furthermore, these narratives show the completely declassified status of Jews in rural culture during the war. This is illustrated by the fact that their remains were buried beyond the orbis interior – ‘wherever – under a tree, at the roadside, in the woods,’51 or left at the statue, on the crossroads, i.e. in places where unchristened individuals and suicide victims would traditionally be interred. The ploughing of Jewish cemeteries belongs to a similar category of events; this – as we know from Michał Rudawski’s account52 – was taking place already during the war. Such activities, albeit abominable, are not devoid of cultural meaning. They show how after hundreds of years during which the Poles and the Jews were living alongside each other, the rural culture has reorganized itself in the new ←197 | 198→post-occupation conditions. They also reveal the extent of the changes that have taken place in this culture as a result of the revocation of the rights of Jews and of their abandonment by the Polish intellectual and spiritual elites.
Fig. 1: The house in Sandomierska Street in Klimontów, summer 2010. Photograph by Łukasz Konopa
1 State Elementary School in Klimontów (PSPK), file no. 3, no pagination. Research in the school archive was conducted by Magdalena Prokopowicz.
2 A short note from Biuletyn Żydowskiej Agencji Prasowej 16/17, April 1945: “This year on April 16 in Klimontów, 5 Jews including 1 woman were murdered: brothers Lederman Saul Josek, aged 35 and Chil, aged 28, [Chil] Peczyna, aged 30, his pregnant wife [Rywka] and Złotnicki Abram, aged 28. Other Jews remaining in the town were forced to move to Sandomierz. 7 Jews returned after the war, 5 were murdered.”
Meducki, Stanisław (ed.): Antyżydowskie wydarzenia kieleckie 4 lipca 1946 roku. Dokumenty i materiały II. Kieleckie Towarzystwo Naukowe: Kielce: 1994, p. 59: “The attackers were: Nowakowski Zenon, Karwacki Kazimierz, Przybylski Józef, Przybylski Tadeusz, Gadulski Władysław, Kilarski Tomasz, Witaszek Jan, Smaguła and Bara Dzidek,” [i.e. Bohdan], AAN MAP 786, p. 17–21. See also: AIPN, Ki 016/4, c. 71.
3 Niebelski, Eugeniusz: W dobrach Ossolińskich. Klimontów i okolice. Urząd Gminy w Klimontowie: Klimontów 1999, pp. 67–68.
4 Januszewski, Radosław: “Szkoła Tysiąclecia”. Rzeczpospolita 27.10.2001.
5 The Ethnographic Archive team conducted its fieldwork in Klimontów twice: in 2005– 2006, during the Sandomierz Land research (supplementary fieldwork was mainly done by Helena Tyszka in winter 2006), and also in 2009–2010, when the information was chiefly collected by Łukasz Konopa.
6 Januszewski, “Szkoła Tysiąclecia”, 2001.
7 Zylberberg, Lejb: A Jid fun Klementow dertcsejlt. Central Jewish Historical Committee: Warsaw-Łódź-Kraków 1947.
8 Penczyna, Mordechaj: “Churban Klemontow”. YIVO Bleter 30(1), 1947, pp. 147–152 (transl. for the purpose of this text by A. Geller and Sara Arm); mentioned in PSPK; Zylberberg, A Jid fun Klementow dertcsejlt, 1947: “We wanted to go to Goźlice, near Klimontów, where Chil Lederman from Klimontów was being sheltered at a farmer’s.”
9 Więckowski, Jerzy W. / Fitowa, Alina: Podobwód Armii Krajowej Klimontów „Czeremcha”. Zarys dziejów. Staszowskie Towarzystwo Kulturalne: Kraków 2009, pp. 46, 47, 91, 128–131 etc.
10 Jan Witaszek “Lipa” (born January 8, 1917), son of Władysław and Bronisława née Skórska, res. in Byszowce near Klimontów, and during the war at 40, Sandomierska Street; AK corporal, after the war a member of the PPS (after: file no. AIPN Ki 022/130, p. 39), he joined a gang of robbers led by Jan Batorski, owner of the restaurant from which the group that shot the Jews had set out for Sandomierska Street. He became a cabinet-maker. Sentenced to 7 years of imprisonment for robbing the State Trade Headquarters in 1946, the MO station in Klimontów, and private individuals; after the war, he took over the house at 56 Sandomierska St.
11 File no. AIPN Ki8/1241, profile of Jan Witaszek, Sandomierz, October 13, 1952.
12 Więckowski and Fitowa, Podobwód Armii Krajowej, 2009, pp. 207, 251, 418, 422.
13 File no. AIPN Ki 8/1241 (SR-57/53) DVD, p. 50.
14 Więckowski and Fitowa, Podobwód Armii Krajowej, 2009, p. 381; the author calls it a “post-AK squad and military organization.”
15 Jerzy Więckowski states that the Przybylski brothers were members of NSZ, see Więckowski and Fitowa, Podobwód Armii Krajowej, 2009, p. 101, cross-referencing Matusak, Piotr: Ruch oporu na ziemi opatowsko-sandomierskiej w latach 1939–1945. Wydawnictwo Ministerstwa Obrony Narodowej: Warsaw: 1976, pp. 227, 229; the nom de guerre of Józef Przybylski in Więckowski and Fitowa, Podobwód Armii Krajowej, 2009, p. 444; his name is listed in the school documents of PSPK, in 1931/1932 class registers: born on 3 April 1923, son of Józef, a bricklayer. See also: file no. AIPN BU 0041818/587, p. 19.
16 File no. AIPN BU 0041818/587, p. 19. Listed in class registers from 1931/1932 as born on May 5, 1925, father Józef, a bricklayer.
17 Januszewski, “Szkoła Tysiąclecia”, 2001; Więckowski and Fitowa, Podobwód Armii Krajowej, 2009, p. 81: “In the evening of January 16, 1943 the Jędrusie group took over a warehouse (in a synagogue) in Klimontów, where the Germans had gathered the goods robbed from the Jews during the dissolution of the ghetto in this town on October 29, 1942. […] The items transported from the warehouse (e.g. leather, fabrics) were used for organizational purposes, and also allocated ‘to the families of the imprisoned and for helping the poor.”
18 “Życiorys”, AIPN Ki 005/1696, p. 6.
19 Więckowski and Fitowa, Podobwód Armii Krajowej, 2008, p. 376.
20 File no. AIPN Ki 53/3703, p. 1–27.
21 ‘Zapisek urzędowy’ by the Kielce Provincial Court judge Andrzej Jankowski, from the beginning of the 1990s, file no. AIPN Ki 53/3703, February 5, 1992.
22 An anonymous letter to the Institute of National Remembrance and the Jewish Historical Institute, dated June 11, 2008.
23 An e-mail sent from Klimontów to the author, October 24, 2008.
24 Januszewski, “Szkoła Tysiąclecia”, 2001.
25 PSPK, registers, t. 10.
26 PSPK, registers, t. 5.
27 See Chapter 4: The Aftermath of the Holocaust in the Jewish Relations and the Memory of the Polish Hinterland in this volume.
28 See “Prośba do Ob. Wojewody Kieleckiego” dated November 14, 1944, APK, OS SS, file no. 580, quoted in Chapter 4.
29 AŻIH, file no. 301/2425.
30 See Chapter 4 above, p. 83.
31 See Chapter 4, p. 86.
33 See Chapter 4, footnote 42.
34 Gruszczyński, Włodzimierz: Lotna sandomierska. Dzieje oddziału partyzanckiego. Milla: Warsaw 2002, pp. 25–36: “[The Jews] went down in history as betrayers of the Polish nation,” ibid., p. 64, a quote from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion; see the description of unmasking the bunker in which the Jews are hiding, with the following commentary (idem, 58, footnote): “AK was therefore an ethnically Polish organization. It only rarely included jews [sic], who took [sic] shelter from the German persecution in AK.” About the two Jews in the Jędrusie unit, see ibid., p. 226: “They were not eager to, or rather, they deliberately avoided taking part in the fight for the common cause.” Immediately after the liberation, the Jędrusie unit was accused of “shooting Jews.” This gave Hipolit Duljasz, first chief of the local PUBP, a reason to arrest Józef Wiącek, the unit commander, in 1945. The story of how Jerzy Bette, Wiącek’s former subordinate of Jewish origin, interceded on his behalf in Łoniów (“Thanks to ‘Jędrusie’ I have survived the war without hiding in holes or dark rooms.”), was described in Korczak, Mieczysław: Życie na włosku. Staszowskie Towarzystwo Kulturalne: Staszów 1997, p. 155–156.
35 “Within the boundaries of the Sandomierz obwód (obwód is the occupation term for a District) there were two partisan groups under the same code name ‘Lotna’. One was a part of AK and the other one a part of BCh. There were about 40 people in the AK ‘Lotna’, and on 12 June 1944 it merged with ‘Jędrusie’. The BCh ‘Lotna’ unit was larger, in the peak period it had over 100 members, led by Mieczysław Wałek ‘Salerno’, and intermittently by Mariusz Zembrzuski ‘Jacek’. The AK ‘Lotna’ was led by Stefan Franaszczuk ‘Tarzan’, later ‘Orlicz’.” Józef Korczak “Gerwazy”, retrieved 7.5.2012, from www.kapustowie.info/goniec/2011-0102.pdf.
36 Retrieved 7.5.2012, from www.obrazów.pl/index.php/zarys-historii.html; by Józef Myjak, Sandomierz 2007.
37 Jan Osuch, born 6/2/1921 in Gnieszowice. Special inspection by the Minister of Justice Aleksander Bentkowski from May 28, 1990 reveals information about the sentence issued by the Provincial Court in Kielce on 18 May 1951, file no. Act VI K33/51 (this act has not been found yet), in the case against Józef Nasternak, Marian Ćwiertnia, Mieczysław Piątkowski, Jan Osuch, Władysław Szczudłowski, and Bronisław Różycki, accused of the murder of Srul Kofman in the village of Gnieszowice. The minister states in his report: “Józef Nasternak as well as the remaining members of his group were only present during the series of actions connected with the takeover of witness B. Kalicińska’s property, and they subsequently returned to their homes. […] Furthermore, the defendants did not realize that they were escorting Srul Kofman, and therefore they could not have known about his subsequent murder,” file no. AIPN BU 724/1/ CD, p.1–5, March 4, 1947. Józef Osuch signed a cooperation agreement, file no. AIPN Ki 0024/256, pp. 1–7. The circumstances of Srul Kofman’s death were recorded in the investigation files regarding the gang led by Jan Batorski, who was in fact also related to Wacław Tutak, mentioned in Pyszniak’s account: “During the winter of 1943 [no date given], BCh members Grombala Marian, Abram Jan and Twaróg Stanisław, upon an order from their superiors, took away citizen Kofman Srul from citizen Stanisław Ziemnicki’s, res. in the village of Gnieszowice, municipality of Koprzywnica, where they subsequently looted Srul’s property, after which, in the afore-mentioned Ziemnicki’s yard, Kofman Srul was shot dead by Jan Abram,” file no. AIPN Ki 022/130, p. 38.
38 See a short biography in Więckowski and Fitowa, Podobwód Armii Krajowej, 2008, pp. 408–412. See also Kuksz, Henryk: Jędrusiowa dola. P. Z. Polmark: Warsaw 1991, p. 38.
39 Zylberberg, A Jid fun Klementow dertcsejlt, 1947: “9 Jews, owners of an oil mill, were in hiding at farmer Jurkowski’s house in the neighboring village of Jugoszów. And it was he himself with another one, Stanisław Marzec from Kozia Góra that killed them. The 9 Jews lie buried in Jugoszów next to the chapel.”
40 A different version of the death of the Jews hiding at Jurkowski’s is given by Zylberberg, see the last footnote in this chapter.
41 Władysław Bajur, born on June 27, 1917 in Szymanowice, son of Wincenty and Rozalia née Bekas, was the commanding officer of an AK Sub-district, see file scan, file no. AIPN Kr 010/1839.
42 This refers to Marian Osmala, a member of NSZ and AK during the war (file no. AIPN Ki8/120/1DVD, p. 42, 57), after the war the commanding officer of the SN post in Goryczany, whose name came up during the SN trial in 1946; file no. AIPN Ki 8/120/1 DVD, p. 80.
43 The fact that the AK unit “Lotna” and the BCh unit “Lotna” were persecuting Jews in the region of Klimontów was confirmed by Zelman Baum in his account, which I have analyzed in Chapter 2: The Unrighteous Righteous and the Righteous Unrighteous in this volume, pp. 170–215; and in Chapter 4: The Aftermath of the Holocaust, see above.
44 For Bolesław Płaza “Płot”, see Więckowski and Fitowa, Podobwód Armii Krajowej, 2008, p. 87 and Gruszczyński, Lotna sandomierska, 2002, p. 80.
45 There was a [NSZ] squad in Sandomierz, led by Marian Żuber, Więckowski and Fitowa, Podobwód Armii Krajowej, 95, 101, 217. After the merger, Żuber did not acknowledge AK, but remained with NSZ. For Żuber, see also file no. AIPN Ki 013/ 1960.
46 The account of Zelman Baum, AŻIH, file no. 301/2425, p. 3: “[Police officer] Morgen wanted more money, just so that Czarnecki would expel those 14 people he was sheltering. They had already found a place for them, the family wanted to leave the farm] but Czarnecki did not want to part with such good ‘clients’ and decided to keep 7 of them at his house. At around that time, an AK squad was created. The squad found these seven people, drove them to the police station, and handed them over to the Gestapo.” See interview with Tomasz Sulima from Obrazów (Sandomierz interviews, 2005): “Why did [people] shelter [Jews]? – You know – for gold, for money. For all that. – Were the Poles greedy? – What do you think?? [annoyed] Greedy, yes, but the Germans punished people with death [in the sense: Poles took money for risking their lives]. How many families perished? Everyone, they burned the whole house, everything, if they were sheltering Jews. – Were they doing it only to get rich? They shouldn’t have done it? – Yes, to get rich. There probably were such families, you see, which took in Jews, killed them, but took the payment all the same. Here, in Lenarczyce, there was a wedding, here, in the neighboring village. And there were probably Jews there, in the barn; the wedding was at the neighbor’s. And that guy burned his barn and the Jews, he was scared, there was a wedding, many people – everyone was running away. But they [the Jews, transl. note], where could they run to? They burned in the barn.”
47 See Chapter 6: The Figure of the Bloodsucker in the Polish Religious, National, and Left-Wing Discourse, 1945–1946 in this volume.
48 Aron Kupferblum, agronomist and owner of a 30-hectare farm, died in 1942, stabbed with a pitchfork by a Pole who was sheltering him in Doły near Dwikozy; based on a letter from David Kupfer to the author, August 16, 2011. See also previous chapter, p. 122.
49 Szmul Pęczyna died this way, see Chapter 4.
50 Zylberberg, A Jid fun Klementow dertcsejlt: “Another time, he [my host] told me that 9 Jews, owners of an oil mill, were in hiding at farmer Jurkowski’s house in the neighboring village of Jugoszów. And it was he himself with another one, Stanisław Marzec from Kozia Góra that killed them. These 9 Jews lie buried in Jugoszów, next to the chapel. And at this very same Stachu Marzec’s house, 3 Jews were sheltered: Jankiel Apelbojm, Mosze Tencer, and Jankiel Grynsztejn [Grynsztajn], and he and his friends blackmailed them to the point that they were forced to leave. They were persecuted so much that at the end of March 1943 they got caught, as a result of denunciation by Tadeusz Brzozowski from Klimontów. They were caught in the village of Konary. They were brought to the town. The Germans, before killing them, had paraded them round Klimontów. Brzozowski followed them and shouted: ‘But you are strong!’ They were taken out of town and shot. The Germans gave Brzozowski a rifle and he was shooting at them too.”
51 See e.g. Rudawski, Michał: Mój obcy kraj? Agencja Wydawnicza TU: Warsaw 1996, p. 161.
52 Rudawski, Mój obcy kraj?, pp. 161–163.