A coward would not dare to do … – the Suchorowski Family, Rytwiany
When the war broke out, Shalom Mandel, his wife Chaya and their children lived in Staszów. The situation of the Jews began to deteriorate significantly. The information also held it that the ghetto would be liquidated and the Jews deported. Then the father of the family began to seek help. He prepared a hiding place in the forest for himself and his family, however, it was not really possible to hide there for a long time. Thus he decided to use his pre-war relations with the Rytwiany inhabitants and asked Weronika Rajczak for help. It was Weronika Rajczak’s home served as the shelter for the family and made it possible to weather the most difficult three months of 1942. There were fears that the Jews in the hiding might have been found. Again, the family would hide in the forest. Shalom Mandel began to look for a new place to hide in.
“My grandfather Szczepan Suchorowski worked in the forest” – recalls Ms. Henryka Przewoźnik. “This is where he met Shalom, he had known from before the war. His colleague begged my grandfather: Szczepanek, take us in, Szczepanek, take us on … it was already the winter time … Shalom said: we will freeze to death in this dungeon we live in … “- says Cecylia Suchorowska, Szczepan Suchorowski’s daughter-in-law. Having consulted with his wife, Aniela Szczepan Suchorowski brought a Jewish family to his home located in Rytwiany. The house was at the distance from the village, off the beaten track, some 900 meters from the main road along which there were most of the farms.
Jan Suchorowski, Szczepan and Aniela’s 12-year-old son was involved in helping the Jewish family. Jan was responsible for checking whether Germans might approach to the house. When requested, he also did shopping. “Dad was lucky that those who reported to Germans never chatted him,” says Henryka Przewoźnik.
Mandel and his family stayed in the Suchorowski house’s hiding place until the end of the war. “Luckily there was no inspection … in case of dangerous situation the Jews hid in the attic. They escaped up the ladder and hid in the hay … the Germans would have found them there after all … it was only owed to God who protected our family, because neither us nor them would have survived”- say Henryk Przewoźnik and Cecylia Suchorowska years after.
16 years ago, Bronia, one of those who were in the hiding began to look for the families that helped her during the war. Thus she contacted the Suchorowski in Rytwiany. “It was 15 August she came with her children and grandchildren … Dad says to her: there was a Bronia but she said to have died. And she said “ I am Bronia … and you are Jasio? They hugged, they could not stop. They were weeping like little children. So happy that they were able to meet after all these years.” recalls Henryk Przewoźnik.
Aniela and Szczepan Suchorowsky were awarded the “Righteous Among the Nations” medal in 2002.