Poles Saving Jews


Episode 11


History preserved in the letters. The Majewski family from Suchedniów.

In 1942 Nikodem and Emilia Majewski agreed to have three Herlin brothers  Leona, Mosiek (Moshe) and Szmul under their roof. Before the war, the Jews lived in Suchedniów in Handlowa Street. Many Jewish houses and hairdresser parlours were located along that street.  Nikodem often used hairdresser services and therefore they became acquaintances.

Emilia and Nikodem’s house was located by the forest in the so-called Błota district, today’s Świerkowa Street. There were not many farms in the vicinity,  the house was surrounded with a high and dense fence. Nikodem worked in a stoneware clay mine, his wife raised the two daughters – Emilia and Marta. One day their Jewish friends knocked on the farm’s door asking “Mr. Majewski, you will offer us a hiding place here? You will be rewarded”   After some time, their cousin “Kostek” joined. Kostek escaped from the Treblinka transport.“Mr. Majewski, no one else wants to offer me a place to hide…”he begged.

A small room in the attic, just above the porch was the hiding place for all four of them.  At night they would descent from the attic into the house. At times they would even go out to help the family in collecting stones and other farming activities. During the day they were occupied with making wooden toys for the Majewski’s daughter, the 7-year-old Marta. She was happy to play with these curved toys as she was not allowed to bring her friends home.

A few weeks before the end of the war there came the three armed men. They claimed to be partisans and  offered Jews to join the partisans. The visitors said that uniforms and weapons were ready for those who join.  Two younger brothers – Szmul and Moshe Herling agreed and went with the men to the forest partisans stand.  Shortly after one of the Jews returned seriously wounded, he crawled up to the gate  bu the gate was locked.  He took the piece of stone because was to week to open it. He was banging the piece of rock against the gate.  The father in law went out and asked who that was.  – Mr. Majewski, it is me. I am wounded and my brother has been killed –remembers Kazimierz Barcicki, Nikodem’s son-in-law.  The other Herling brother was shot in the head and chest.

Nikodem Majewski immediately sought medical assistance from doctor Poziomski who was involved in the conspiracy movement.  Upon their return they found the wounded man dead …

The men who claimed to be partisans turned out to have separated from the underground units some time before. Kazimierz Barcicki believes that they left the Moczar’s unit and, on their own looked for easy income …

After the war Leon and Kostek left for Łódź, where they started their own shop.  Soon they decided to go to the United States where their sister lived. Until the end of their lives they stayed in touch with the Majewski family, wrote letters to each other and supported the Majewskis financially. In one of the letters we read: My dear, I will never forget you. Faithfully yours, Leon and the family.

The family never applied to receive the “Righteous Among the Nations” medal.   Family history is told by  91-year-old Kazimierz Barcicki, Emilia and Nikodem Majewski’s son-in-law and his daughter Anna Gałczyńska.

Autor Marlena Płaska
In this episode
Stories about Poles

Emilia Majewska

Nikodem Majewski

The people in the hiding

Leon Herling

Mosiek (Mosze) Herling

Szmul Herling


The story told by

Kazimierz Barcicki, zięć Emilii i Nikodema Majewskich