I will survive. The story of Anna Lewkowicz, Pawłowice. Part 2
Sometimes I find it hard to believe what I have gone through. After the war I was unable to speak … my voice had gone and I was able to whisper. I could not walk. Yet my will to live has always been stronger than anything else –says Anna Lewkowicz. She, her mother and brother were saved in Pawłowice near Pińczów.
Anna Lewkowicz was born in 1936, her mother came from Pińczów, the father from Wodzisław. In 1942, prior to the deportation of Jews from Pińczów Julian Laskowski helped her and her parents and older brother Wiktor to escape from the ghetto. He also offered them a hiding place. They often needed to find new places in order to avoid the being caught in constant pursuit of the Jews. They were hiding in the stable, in the attic, in a fire station, the stack of sheaves, in the barn and in many other places
Not all of them survived and were happy to see the war end. Anna’s father died while searching for another hideout for the family, her cousins also were shot. She, her mother and brother survived. They owe their lives to Julian Laskowski’s and his sister, Józefa Karbowniczek’s determination and dedication.
They were the heroes – says Anna Lewkowicz today –but for them, this could not have happen. Sometimes I think what I would do it if I were to provide someone a shelter. I do not know whether I would do it.
She recalls that when she was a small, several-year-old girl in the hiding place, she spent her time dreaming. She dreamed to have a doll, a doll-cart. She wanted to be like a princess everyone would like to save and protect. Reality, however was different. The days passed on killing lice. They suffered from hunger. Once a week Julek would bring them bread made by his sister. That was not enough. That is why Wiktor, Anna’s older brother sneaked in at night. He stole beets and carrots from the fields for them. He also brought them water. He would get water from the well by carefully putting the kettle down on the so-called ball; a stick with a hook at the end.
Anna Lewkowicz emphasizes that Poles help was disinterested and offered straight from the hearts. It was not offered for money! They did not expect any money –she repeats.People ask “how much did you pay him?”. If someone saves somebody else’s life, there is no money that can be offered in return, even if you pay them millions … He did not want any money, anyway.
Anna Lewkowicz lives in Israel, since 1989 she has regularly visited Poland and her homeland.I’m Polish. A Jewess, yet a proud Polish woman– she stresses.