The Żal from the Grzymała village, Tuczępy commune
Before the war, Antoni Bogdan Żal was a pre-high school pupil in Busko-Zdrój, he had a classmate friend – Samuel Lederman. He was hunchbacked and therefore ridiculed by the children. However, he was extremely gifted, with a special aptitude for exact sciences.
The Ledermans and Żals families were in friendly contacts. Samuel’s parents traded in feather in Chmielnik.
When the war started they made the promise: should there be any problems, we will help each other.
First, the Żal family supplied Ledermans with food when they were sent into the ghetto. Then they arranged a hiding place in the Grzymała village, the Tuczępy commune they lived in. When the Germans started Jews deportation from Chmielnik to Treblinka, our grandfather took them in his cart – Szymon Żal recalls. The Lederman family – the parents and two sons Ezjel and Samuel were in the hiding. A few days later, Estera Gutman – Ezjel’s fiancé knocked on the Żals’ family house. It was Ezjel who revealed where the hiding place was. Estera Gutman also asked for help. “That caused consternation. She came here so unexpectedly. There were already 4 people in the hiding, those people needed food. That was quite a challenge. She spent the first night in the forest. Then the decision was made to let her in” – says Szymon Żal. From then on, there were the 5 people hidden in one house, the Jews were originally hidden in the attic. It was Ezjel’s initiative to make an additional hiding place used in emergency situations, for example when the Germans called in the house. The other hideout was located under the floor of an empty room, the entry was concealed with a heap of potatoes. Speaking about hygiene – we got a bucket full of water for washing and drinking. An empty bucket was brought to fulfil physiological needs. We would cover the bucket top. At night Sławka would then empty the bucket behind the barn. We were given boiled potatoes, milk for breakfast and potatoes with scrambled eggs for dinner –Ezjel Lederman recollects in his memoirs written and published in the USA.
The Żal family offered the Lederman family and Edzia Gutman (later she married Ezjel) a shelter from 1942 to the end of July 1944. The Żals were awarded the Righteous Among the Nations medal in 1984.
The two families marinated relations, although the Ledermans emigrated to the United States after the war’s end. Samuel was a well-known scientist, and Eziel was a doctor. This is owed to Sam that the Americans were on the moon two years earlier than the Russians– says Szymon Żal, Antoni’s son.
Antoni Bogdan Żal would visit the Ledermans in the United States. also Estera Lederman (née Gutman) visited Poland several times. She still maintains contact with the Żal family.