Uncovering the Mixed Feelings of Polish Villagers Who Hid a Jewish-Born Teacher During the Holocaust – Tablet Magazine

Originally posted on Tablet Magazine.

The one dusty road from my family’s farm in the tiny village of Chociszewo, Poland, leads straight to the cemetery, where my great-aunt Stasia Szymanska visits the graves of her husband, parents, and sister Todzia almost daily. Aunt Stasia still remembers the weight of Todzia’s 5-year-old body pressing against her small palms as she and my grandmother carried her casket to the graveyard. “She was beautiful in a little, white dress, like she was going to her First Communion,” Aunt Stasia said, “and she had a wreath on her head. A woman said to me and your grandmother, ‘Take a needle and prick her in the ring finger. If the blood flows, maybe she’s just sleeping.’ ”

Chociszewo is about an hour’s drive northwest from Warsaw, and there was no particular reason to stop there unless you knew they grew some of the most succulent strawberries on earth. The sales from the strawberry harvest are how my family sustains itself, ever since they first tilled the land before World War II. Aunt Stasia, a 77-year-old lifelong strawberry farmer, has cropped, caramel-colored hair that she curls with small, plastic rollers on Sunday mornings and walks around the farm in before going to church. She is the farm matron and lives now with nine family members. Her duties have been whittled down to…

via Uncovering the Mixed Feelings of Polish Villagers Who Hid a Jewish-Born Teacher During the Holocaust – Tablet Magazine.

2 thoughts on “Uncovering the Mixed Feelings of Polish Villagers Who Hid a Jewish-Born Teacher During the Holocaust – Tablet Magazine

  1. The contradiction of Poland during the war. Many brave people risking their lives to save Jews from certain death. Many others happy to see them deported to the camps, mocking them as they were marched to the station.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

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