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Pawel Wos

Kozienice, Poland

Pawel, a Roman Catholic, fled to Danzig, Germany, in 1914 to avoid conscription in the Russian army. Since Germany and Russia were at war, Pawel was arrested by the Germans as an enemy alien and sent to work on a farm in northern Germany. He met Anna Szachowska there, and they married in 1918. The couple moved to Warsaw where they raised 4 children. In 1930 Pawel opened a textile business.

1933-39: Despite the Depression, my business prospered and we expanded our operations. In 1938 some friends who worked in the government warned me that war with Germany was likely. When my wife Anna heard that, she began stockpiling food. On September 1, 1939, Germany attacked Poland and began bombing Warsaw. Our apartment building was close to German bombing targets so I moved the family to another building.

1940-44: After things settled down, the Germans allowed me to reopen my business. Most of my suppliers were located nearby in the Jewish section of the city, the very area that the Germans had enclosed as a ghetto in November 1940. The operation of the mills had been taken over by the ghetto's German administration and we now depended on the ghetto for supplies. With permission to enter the ghetto, I managed to hire 2 mechanics from the ghetto, and with the help of the underground I hid 3 Jewish families.

Pawel was arrested in Warsaw during the August 1944 uprising and deported as a political prisoner to the Flossenbürg camp in Germany. After the war, he returned to Warsaw.

 

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