Holocaust Stories – The Perwoski Family

Holocaust Stories - The Perwoski Family 1

On January 26th, 1945, the Auschwitz camp was released from the hands of the Nazis. Here’s a story translated from the Yad Vashem website about a family that was saved by Christians.

When the second world war started the Perewoski family lived in Vilna. Shmuel and Dora were the parents of Eli (Leszek) and Selina. The family had a business for wooden goods and carpentry; everything was taken from them as they were let into the ghetto. When the first transports to the death camps began at the ghetto, Shmuel decided they should run away. Tadeusz Korsak, a friend and a business partner, offered his help.

The family ran away from the ghetto at 1942. Eli escaped first as Shmuel hid him between lots of workers that were on their way to forced labor. The former nanny of the children waited for Eli in a pickup spot and took him to a temporary hiding place. His mom and his sister joined later and went to Korask’s house in Balcer. During those times, the village was in Poland. Shmuel joined them later and they all lived in Korask’s basement. Their lives were so well hidden that Eli joined a choir.

It was a huge risk. The families had to avoid the Germans and the other ethnic groups around them. Moreover, the hostility towards the partisans from the national Polish underground caused further risk to the family. Soviet partisans took Shmuel and shot him dead; his body was found in a field as was later buried (but not found) by Eli.

The neighbors thought something bad was going on in Korsak’s home. Eli and his mother escaped to the forests and joined the Jewish partisans while Selina stayed with Wladyslawa, Tadeusz Korsak’s wife. In October 1943, Tadeusz and his two daughters were killed by Polish partisans. Wladyslawa, that lost her entire family, escaped with Salina to a town named Jerozolimka where her relatives, Jan and Maria Michalowski, took care of them, despite having five children of their own.

After the war, Dora, Selina and Eli made Aliah to Israel. She remarried and her children took her husband’s last name – Levin. They never talked about the holocaust and they always tried to build new lives for themselves. 50 years later, Eli went back to Lithuania and Belarus to find his family’s saviors. He found Korsak’s house and Michalowski’s grandchildren. They gave him a picture of their father, Andrei, with Selina.

On December 25, 2006, Tadeusz and Wladyslawa Korsak, along with Yan and Maria Michalowski were given the title Righteous Among the Nations. In June 2007, Andrei and his son came to Israel to participate the ceremony. They received the medals and the honors in the name of their parents and their grandparents.

The picture above is of Yan and Maria Michalowski.

Translated from Yad Vashem Website by Dror Bara’am

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