The Righteous

There are many people who have aided Jews from Mielec over the centuries – everything from sheltering families during the Shoah to helping a visitor find the cemetery in 2019. We, the descendants of Jewish families from Mielec, wish to honor and thank them for their generosity, humanity, courage, and hearts.

Poles living in Mielec Today

Stanisław Wanatowicz
Stanisław Wanatowicz

Stanisław Wanatowicz, a.k.a. The “Rabbi” of Mielec, nephew of Leon Wanatowicz who aided Jews during the Shoah (see below), currently by far the most knowledgable person on the history of Jewish life in Mielec. Pan Wanatowicz has helped hundreds of Jewish families connect with their past, and continues to educated Poles in Mielec about their former Jewish neighbors. He and his wife Maria open their home to visitors near and far, correspond with Jews from every corner of the earth, and have spent countless hours volunteering their time to preserve this history. He is both a ‘maven’ and a ‘mensch’ – the highest praise we Jews can say about anyone, Jew or Gentile.

Janusz Halisz and Beata Ślemp-Kwoka at the Muzeum Historii Fotografii “Jadernówka” in Mielec. Under their leadership they continue to educate the people of Mielec through museum exhibitions, outreach to local schools, and other community events. They are the primary caretakers of the Old Jewish Cemetery of Mielec and spend countless hours every year cleaning and tidying up the site. The museum holds and preserves a priceless collection of prewar photographs and historic documents of Mielec Jews which it shares with families and researchers at no cost. We cannot thank them enough for all they do.

Izabela Sekulska, founder of the “Mayn Shtetele Mielec” Facebook group and primary caretaker of the New Jewish Cemetery of Mielec on ul. Tragutta. Under Pani Iza’s leadership, the Tragutta cemetery went from an overgrown patch of property to a beautiful resting place for our families. She continues to spend countless hours organizing cleaning crews, researching family histories, and moderating a Facebook group of Jews and Gentiles that is a model of kindness and mutual understanding.

Other Polish researchers in Mielec and environs who have dedicated their time and energies to preserving the history of the Jewish community in Mielec:

  • Andrzej Krempa
  • Krzysztof Haptaś
  • Dr. Leszek Hońdo
  • Włodek Gąsiewski

Poles aiding Jews during the Shoah

There were many Poles who risked their lives helping Jews during the Shoah, from slipping them a piece of bread to building hidden shelters. This list is primarily the result of research by Tom Frydel at the University of Toronto.

Leon Wanatowicz (1896-1951)
Leon Wanatowicz (1896-1951)
Wiktor Jaderny (1902-1984)
Wiktor Jaderny (1902-1984)
  • Wiktor Jaderny, Leon Wanatowicz, and Eugeniusz Szyfner – All three were honored with the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta by Polish President Andrzej Duda on March 17, 2016.
  • Józef Balczeniuk, for helping the Rosenblatt family
  • Józefa Bogusz, for helping the Korzennik family
  • Karol Broniek, for helping the Birnbaum, Lischer, Gralitzer, Grun, Jachymowicz, and Gawendo families
  • Commander Michał Burkiewicz, for helping the Hill family
  • Tomasz Buś, for helping the Weissman family
  • The Catholic Sisters of Trzęsówka, for helping Rachel N. aka Zofia Dąbrowska
  • Jan Chichoń + his wife, for helping the Marek family
  • Władysław + Stanisław Dobrowolski, for helping the Honig, Lerensohn, Rosenzweig, and Kuper/Kanarek families
  • Jan Domagała + wife of Zarównie, for helping the Kirschenbaum family
  • N. Dubiel, for helping the Ladner family
  • The Dudek family, for helping the Siegfried family
  • Maciej + Zofia Dudzik, for helping the Allweiss family
  • Maria Fedor, for helping the Hill family
  • Bronisław Florek + his wife, for helping the Nichtberger family
  • Władysław Górski, for helping the Kirschenbaum family
  • Jan Indyk, for helping the Finger family
  • Maria Kosiorowska + her husband, for helping the Messing and Rothbart families
  • Mieczyslaw Kowalik, for helping the Wusch family
  • Władysław Kryczka + his wife, for helping the Marek family
  • Jan Kusak, for helping the Rosenbluth family
  • Józef Mądry, for helping the Kuper/Kanarek family
  • Tadeusz Maziarz, for helping the Balsam family
  • Wojciech Moździerz’s father, for helping the Feit family
  • Leokadia and Stanisław Orłowscy, for helping Irene Geminder (Eber)
  • Stanisław Pachoł, for helping the Birnbaum family
  • Stanisław Pieróg of Brzyście, for helping the Kupferman family
  • Zdzisław Piolkowski, for helping the Ladner family
  • Katarzyna Szyfner + her son, for helping the Gross, Jungenwirth, Zuckerbrodt, and Heller families
  • Marcin Walas and an unknown couple from Poznań, for helping the Haar family
  • Stanisław Walczak, for helping the Lind and Rosenzweig families
  • Pan Walęga of Zdziarzec, for helping the Hirsch family
  • Michał Wątrobski, for helping the Dershowicz family
  • Stanisław Wawrzycki, for helping the Hauser family
  • Bronisław Wilk + his wife, for helping the Orgiel, Wachtel, and Pflaker families
  • Stanisław Wojtusiak of Gliny Wielkie, for helping the Horn family
  • Jan Ziętek, for helping Zofia Wróblewska (fake Aryan name; Jewish name unknown)
  • Władysław Zioło, for helping the Gottdenker family