Poles Saving Jews


Episode 16


They shared the same yard – Józef and Marianna Wróblewski. Mirocice, in the Nowa Słupia commune

Marianna and Józef Wróblewski and their two teenage children lived in Mirocice, Nowa Słupia municipality during the war-time. There were two cottages on their plot: the new one where the family lived and the old, one-room, empty house. However the Wróblewski family was not alone in the new house,  a German officer with his staff were also accommodated there.  That is why Marianna was worried about her own and her family’s safety when Helena Wrzosek – Marianna’s sister knocked on the house door in the middle of July 1944 . There were three Jewish women with Marianna.

The Wróblewskis’ daughter Marianna Grabowska was born in 193; this is how she remembers the situations: My father was a little hasty … “If I see someone’s in trouble, I’ll help”. He accepted these Jewish women in their house.  What a row at there was. He and mammy quarrelled … she had to think everything over.  My aunt and daddy were siblings, so alike. They had a tendency to decide so hastily.  Mummy also shouted at the aunt:  What have you done?!  And what are we supposed to do once we’re faced with the situation?!  “Quiet mother! (this is how she was often called). We might be able to keep it secret. We might get away with it…” –Marianna Grabowska recalls the family argument. And  we survived until the war end … with Jews and Germans living in one yard. –she adds.

All the Jewish women in the hiding had Aryan certificates.  The teenage girl – Janina Luidor was able to escape from the Warsaw ghetto. From then on she was called Janina Sadowska. Sonia Wisznia – a teacher had the new name too. She was called Karolina Kurkowska, her teenage daughter Rina Wisznia was called Teresa Kurkowska. The women were not able to stay at Helena Wrzosek’s home in Zielonka near Warsaw any longer. Someone threatened to report Wrzosek to the authorities.  When it was decided that the Jewish women were to stay in Mirocice, Marianna Wróblewska told her daughter that her distant relatives had arrived. Marianna, the guests and the cousin – Helena Wrzosek’s daughter were asked to move in an old, abandoned hut.  There were 4 of us sleeping across the old bed. For me she was an aunt. That’s it. It hardly crossed my mind that these people were Jews. It was a secret, anyway. No one knew that they were Jews. A family from Warsaw came to Wróblewscy – this is what the people were told –says Marianna Grabowska. The family lived in poverty.  Bread and potatoes with milk were the food we mostly ate.  Sonia Wisznia was a teacher,  she suggested teenage Marysia that they might organize a class to teach rural children in.  The girl managed to gather fewer than 10 people. Sonia spent time with the children, she taught mainly mathematics, geography and Polish. She also taught religious studies– adds Marianna Grabowska: Jesus was born, suffered, he was persecuted. She never referred to her own faith, … there might have been some references, but very discreet. She also made up games and in-class activities.  She was like a second mother for me, she understood us very well – adds Marianna Grabowska.

Later Marianna’s brother said the women who were staying with them were Jewish.  And he forbade her to tell anyone about it. He said that otherwise they might be killed.

Sonia Wisznia was fluent in German.  Her good command of Germand helped to save Mirocice from pacification in the middle of August 1944 after several Germans were killed in the ambush. She explained to the Germans who gathered all locals that the Russian landing military were responsible for the ambush, not the Poles. She said she took full responsibility for what she said. The Germans failed to challenge her words despite a few-day investigation. Thus Mirocice inhabitants were saved, otherwise they might have been shot or killed in mass house-fires.

When the front line passed and the Germans retrieved, Sonia Wisznia knelt in the yard and prayed to God. Marianna Grabowska says that she can still see this picture today: What a joy it must have been … that was a narrow escape from death …

For helping Janeczka, Sonia and Rina, Marianna and Józef Wróblewscy and Helena Wrzosek received the Medal of the Righteous Among the Nations in 2012.

Autor Marlena Płaska
In this episode
Stories about Poles

Marianna Wróblewska

Józef Wróblewski

Helena Wrzosek

The people in the hiding

Sonia Wisznia (hide as: Karolina Kurkowska)

Janina Luidor (hide as: Janina Sadowska)

Rina Wisznia, córka Soni (hide as: Teresa Kurkowska)

The story told by

Marianna Grabowska, daughter Marianna and Józef Wróblewski