Kończyce Małe, 29 July 1998
I, Anna Klorczyk née Wawrzyczek, b. 20 July 1920 in Kończyce Małe, Cieszyn county, daughter of Franciszek and Amalia née Rychły, holder of ID [...], state the following:
During the German occupation, I lived at the place of my relatives, Wincenty and Maria Wawrzyczek, in Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski. At that time, I worked at a grocery store which was owned by the aforesaid persons. The manager of the shop was Antoni Burian, brother of Maria Wawrzyczek. Mr. Burian had a license to sell groceries in exchange for food coupons. Aside from myself, working at the shop were Irena Romanowska (presently Grzegorska) and Witold Szymański, an evictee from Poznań. Witold had two brothers, Gwidon and Bogdan, whom I knew personally. They worked at a German post office in Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski. I do not remember the details, but I believe that starting from the first half of the occupation period both Gwidon and Bogdan delivered packages containing a considerable number of food coupons to the Wawrzyczek shop every month. I do not know where these came from; they were in blanco forms.
Filling in the coupons with fictitious names and addresses were the following persons: Antoni Burian, Irena Romanowska, myself, that is, Anna Wawrzyczek (presently Klorczyk), the Szymański brothers, that is, Witold, Gwidon, and Bogdan, and Maśka (actually Danuta) Izdebska, whose husband, Jan, worked at the Procurement Department at the Ostrowiec Municipal Board. Maśka delivered the coupons thus prepared to her husband, who drew up food distribution lists for shops, including Burian’s. Collecting the goods from wholesalers was the task of Witold Szymański. I know that some of the groceries thus obtained were issued to people facing persecution, some to the poor and to the families of Poles murdered by the Germans, while considerable rations were given to the Ostrowiec Jews (from the ghetto) and to charity.
I remember that in some cases the food was issued free of charge, and if Burian did ask for payment, that was only to cover the primary costs, that is, to settle accounts with the “Społem”, with the bakery, transportation costs, etc.
I am stating that I never received any additional remuneration nor made any gain in return for my participation in the aforesaid activities. To day, I still believe that the others, that is, Antoni Burian, Gwidon, Bogdan, and Witold Szymański, as well as Jan Izdebski, his wife Maśka, Irena Romanowska, and Mr. and Mrs. Wawrzyczek, the shop owners, did not make any gain nor accept any remuneration for taking part in the subterfuge described. These actions were seen as a patriotic duty.
I was not a member of any organization, but I know that some of the persons mentioned were members of the independence underground.
Also, food packages were prepared in Burian’s shop, which were then sent to prisoners in camps, including POW camps. The packages were prepared by Witold, who was also helped by Mr. Burian, Irka Romanowska, and me, the author of the present statement.
In the first half of 1944, Witold Szymański gave me a border pass, for free. The pass enabled me to go to Silesia to visit my parents in Kończyce Małe. After I left Ostrowiec, I did not return to the General Government again: I remained at my parents’ house and I lost contact with Witold Szymański. It was only in spring 1998 that Witold wrote to me, for the first time in 54 years, saying that he had been looking for me, but I had changed my name after I got married, which he did not know. I was in touch with Wanda, the sister of the Szymański brothers, who came to my parents’ house. Antoni Burian died in 1946 in Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski. He was survived by his wife, Karolina, and two little children. Jan Izdebski was forced to flee Ostrowiec, as he was facing arrest. He died in Wrocław in the 1970s.
I learned that the coupon operation lasted until January 1945, that is, until the end of the German occupation of Ostrowiec, so at least three years, or maybe even three and a half.
All the participants were aware of the ramifications of their involvement – they knew the gravity and the extent of potential German retaliation in the event of being discovered.
I have drawn up the present statement at the request of Witold Szymański, currently residing in the United States. I have given my account so as to preserve the past and, taking full responsibility, to the best of my recollection of the wartime events, I have testified the truth, appending my signature to the present document, with the participation of a notary and after identifying myself by an ID.
Two copies of the present statement shall be given to Witold Szymański, while I shall retain one copy for my family.
I, the undersigned, Anna Klorczyk, resident of Kończyce Małe, was awarded an Order of Polonia Restitutia Fifth Class, a Gold Cross of Merit, and a Bronze Cross of Merit for community service in the Zebrzydowice municipality, Cieszyn district.