Myszków, 25 June 2000

The Central Archives of Modern Records
Hankiewicza Street 1
02-101 Warsaw
Committee for the Commemoration of Poles who Saved Jews

I am writing in response to a call to report instances of Poles saving Jews during the Second World War, which was broadcast on television.

My father was hiding a man of Jewish descent in Mrzygłód, at Włodowska Street 37.

He was young – about 30 years old, tall, with black hair. Intelligent and well dressed, he played the violin, which he would sometimes bring with him. His name was Rajczyk, and he was from Poraj. My father told us that he was being persecuted by the Germans and that we should help him survive. He asked my mother and sister Jaśka to provide the man with meals every day and to treat Mr Rajczyk as a family member. Father prepared pillows and a blanket which I was to take to the barn. I used to sleep there in the hay in the summer, since there was no space in the house, as we had only one room. For a few days we slept next to each other above the cows, until the hay was moved to the hay silo.

The hay silo was located in the yard. It stood on four pillars which had holes drilled on top for holding pins which attached the roof.

The roof could be raised or lowered, depending on the amount of hay. Mr Rajczyk also slept and stayed in Mr Ziajski’s barn, which was located some 300 meters away by the road. The barn gate faced the fields. The door was locked with a hook. He would open the door with a wire, come inside, lock the door, sleep and spend time there.

Father strictly forbade everyone in the house from disclosing any information about the person who was staying there. If pressed, we were to say that he was our uncle from Nierada. Rajczyk stayed at our house, but he would also leave for an entire day. He often borrowed a bike and rode off somewhere. When my father’s brother Józef Buła came over, they played cards in the evenings. Father worked in Myszków in a paper factory. He would leave for work before 5.00 a.m. and return at different times – late or sometimes not at all. I pastured the cows, and my sister Jaśka helped my mother with house chores.

The German gendarmerie often walked in groups of three to four from the German gendarmerie station through Włodawska Street, next to our house, through the fields, and to the market square and Mrzygłód. At the end of August 1943, the Germans came to our house for an inspection several times, asking about my father and his colleague. As it happened, neither of them were home at the time. One time at the beginning of September, Germans in black suits arrived in a car in order to search our house. Only my sister Jaśka and I were home. One of the Germans spoke Polish. He started asking us about father and about the people who were staying at the house. He put me on his lap (this was all taking place in the yard in front of the house) and kept hitting me in the buttocks to get me to tell him where my father was and where his colleague who was staying at our house was. I was screaming and crying, and he let me go. He called my sister Jaśka over, took her in his arms, carried her to the open well and tried to force her to tell him the whereabouts of our father and his colleague who was staying at our house. They then released us, talked to one another in German, and left.

The part of the house where father slept was made of wood, so late in the evenings he would often hear people talking and walking about near the house. There was a bench under the window. After thinking it through, we got rid of it. From that point onward everyone in the house became more watchful.

One evening I was climbing the ladder in the barn to go to sleep, when suddenly a German shepherd burst in, got hold of my leg and bit a hole in it. I started screaming. My father ran out of the house with a pitchfork, as he always had something like a pitchfork, an axe or a crowbar ready. He ran into two Germans who called the dog off and started talking to my father. Their names were Zielonka and Połomski. A lot of blood was streaming down my leg. Father started dressing the wound, and they left the yard.

Rajczyk was very scared by this incident and he stopped sleeping in our yard. He started spending more time at Ziajski’s barn. He would come to our house less often. When he was leaving the house, we had to be on the lookout and watch the road. This responsibility was mine and my sister Jaśka’s. Father also worked longer hours, he would come home late or not at all for a whole night. We had to bring Rajczyk food more often, because he felt safer in Ziajski’s barn. The barn was located in a field, it had an entrance facing the fields and meadows, and one could cross the river and get to Kręciwilk and to the forest. The Światowit railway station was close by as well.

After 15 October, Rajczyk had a long conversation with my father and afterwards he moved out and never came back. I spoke to my father about it. He said that Rajczyk had gone to join the partisans in the forest.

Jan Buła


Janina Mista