Poles Saving Jews


Episode 38


We, the Jews from Klimontów – the Politas family’s history, Goźlice, Klimontów Commune

“I can see it all … the yard. I can see them running towards our home … as if I was there” – says Mrs. Leokadia Oszczudłowska, Maria and Andrzej Politas daughter, Wacław Polita’s sister – they were awarded the Righteous among the Nations medal.

Maria and Andrzej Polita and their five children lived in Goźlice,  where they had a large, approximately 20-hectare farm. The made a living on farming.   Leokadia was born in 1930. When her family began to hide Jews, she was 13 years old.

She remembers that the Zilberbergs – the Jewish family lived in Klimontów before the war. They were highly respected in the local community,  the father of the family was a very good tailor. His two sons Moris and Arie worked with him,  the two daughters also helped them running in the family business.  The Politas often placed used their services, too.

When in 1942 people started talking about the Jews deportation from Klimontów, Zilberberg asked Andrzej Polita to hide one of his sons, Moris. “He said: we will shower you with money, Mr Polita … Daddy refused sharply –   I have five children … I cannot take your son in.  Shortly afterwards the Jews were deported” – Leokadia is moved when recalling the past events.

The Zilberberg brothers were sent to the Sandomierz ghetto and then to the Pionki camp.  They were found to be good tailors and the thus made to work for Germans.  In the spring of 1943 they managed to escape.  They would only travel at night. They went through fields covered with grains. Extremely exhausted they reached to Goźlice  and at night they knocked at the Politas’ house door. “Someone is knocking on the window.  Mommy asks:  Who’s there? And they reply: it us – the Jews from Klimontów ” – says Leokadia Oszczudłowska. She adds that her dad and eldest brother agreed to take them in.  “They were starving, tired. They said they had not eaten for days. Mommy cooked eggs for them, served them coffee with milk. Later they said that it was the best meal they had ever eaten in their lives “-adds Leokadia.

A hiding place under the barn floor was built for them.  The hole was filled with straw. They were also given duvets.  At night, having made sure that nobody noticed they were went into the house, especially in winter. They could sleep in warm place then. It was not all that peaceful  – recalls Ms. Leokadia. Her brothers, Wacław and Marian were partisan. Large groups of partisans happened to spend a night in the barn over the Jews’ hideout.  The Politas decide not to tell the partisans that the Jews were hiding in their farm. There were also unexpected German inspections.  Fortunately, they never searched the farm.  Moris and Arie watched the events through the cracks in their hideout walls.  They also maintained contacts with other hidden Jews and they were surprised that the Politas did not demand any payment.

Immediately after the war, the Zilberberg brothers left for Canada,  for many years they stayed in touch with the Politas family, especially with Maria. That memorable night of 1943 it was Maria who fed them and let into the house.

Wacław, Józef and Janina were awarded the “Righteous Among the Nations” medal in 2002.

Autor Marlena Płaska
In this episode
Stories about Poles:

Maria Polit – Righteous Among the Nations

Andrzej Polit – Righteous Among the Nations

Maria and Andrzej’s son - also awarded the Righteous Among the Nations medla

The people who stayed in the hiding:

Moshe (Moris) Zilberberg

Arie Zilberberg

The story told by:

Leokadia Oszczudłowska - Maria and Andrzej Politas’ daughter, Righteous Among the Nations

Robert Oszczudłowski - Maria and Andrzej Politas’ grandson

Marta Oszczudłowska - Maria and Andrzej Politas’ great