עדות בעברית כאן
Testimony of Henia Kudlowicz Sylman about heroic activities of Righteous Among the Nations: Henio Małkiewicz
Excerpt of letter sent to Yad Vashem by Henia Kudlowicz Sylman that supported the request for granting Henio Małkiewicz honor of "Righteous Among the Nations". It was also printed in the Moledet School Ostrowiec Memorial booklet (page 91-93) in the 1980’s . -Researched and translated from Hebrew by Avi Borenstein
(Text in square brackets was on original letter to Yad Vashem but not printed in the Moledet school booklet)
I would like you to deal with my request to acknowledge Mr. Henio Małkiewicz resident of Poland as a Righteous of Nations since he saved 4 Jews from death during World War II.
[My name is Henia Sylman Kudlowicz born 20.8.1920 in Ostrowiec Poland. I made Aliya to Israel in 1970 with my family and since then I was a housewife and my address is Moshe Sharet 29, Tel Aviv.
I should note that what I will be saying is only as factual summary of the events and I am unable to write my emotions and fears during these years. My ability to write is weak in order to express the greatness of his actions, greatness of his heart, and bravery of the spirit of Henio Małkiewicz and only thanks to him I and three other survivors were able to build glorious families.]
When the war began, I was 19 years old and learned in the Bais Yaakov. The Germans arrived in Ostrowiec in September 1939. They killed many Jews and as in their usual way, abused the local population, confiscated all the radios and weapons among the town residents.
Despite the difficult economic situation of the town, in our home, there was always food since my father was a cereal/food trader and had connections with the noble Poles. My parents arranged work for my four brothers that were supervised by Germans. My father could not continue to trade since he had a beard, which was dangerous if he was to be caught by the Germans. In the winter of 1941, he was caught by the Germans and removed the hairs of his beard. When he returned home, none of the family members could identify him and we were sure it was one of the town’s beggars that came to request charity.
On April 28, 1942, there was an Action by the Germans in the town. My father was arrested and taken to the Gestapo headquarters. That evening, 33 men and 4 women were murdered. My father was the first victim.
As I mentioned earlier, my father was a big cereal/food trader and we had a flour mill in Stokow [Stoki Stare] ( about 15 km from Ostrowiec). The flour mill was operated by a non-Jew by the name of Małkiewicz who had three sons and a daughter; [Cenio, Henio, Dzidek and Yanka
The children of the Małkiewicz family all learned in high school and were Polish Nationalists. Henio who was born in 1921 came often to our home in the evenings in the years 1941-1941. He ate and slept in our house and close to midnight he would disappear in the middle of the night for ant-German activities. Our parents didn’t know anything about this but just my brother and I kept this secret and we gave him a key to our home so he can come in to our house when needed.]
In the evening before the deportation of November [October] 1942, Henio came with his eldest brother and tried to persuade our family to leave the town with their help. They wanted to dress my mother as a non-Jew and lay her down in a wagon like she was a sick farmer, but my mother completely refused because she was not prepared to travel on Shabbat and I was not willing to leave my mother.
In the deportation, they gathered all the Jews in the market square and the Germans took my mother, my sister, her husband and their son, my eldest brother with is wife and 9 children, my additional 2 brothers, to an unknown destination -apparently to Treblinka.
From all my family that survived, was just my brother and I. because there was no organized work for us by the Germans, my brother was sent to work at Starachowice, at the large steel plant. I however managed to escape the market square during the turmoil there.
Two weeks from the deportation, Henio heard that I was in Bodzechów (about 12km from our home) and he arrived there on a bike and brought me a loaf of bread, butter, coffee and asked how I was.
I told him that my condition was bad and I am in an illegal location and then he immediately offered to take me out of the camp and hide me in the forest near his home. He put me on his bike right away since anyway I did not have anything or any belongings to take. When we got to the forest, he left me there alone, went home and brought me warm clothes and always cared to calm me that he will not harm me since he knew I came from a very religious family. I stayed in the forest for about a week while Henio would come every night with food, but I couldn’t take any longer the fear and the loneliness and I asked him to return me to the labor camp.
He honored my request and when we arrived at the camp gate, he checked if the area was clear so that I can sneak back into the camp. After that, every 2 weeks he would arrive and bring me food. In the end of December 1942, I heard that my brother escaped from Starachowice to the Ostrowiec Ghetto (he didn’t know I was alive) so I escaped too from Bodzechów to Ostrowiec and there I met him.
In January 1943 the second deportation took place and with the liquidation of the Ghetto we were sent to Częstocice. They sent my brother and I to a brick factory a distance of 4 km. from Częstocice - and there we were considered “legal workers”.
Henio succeeded to find out where we were and every week or two, he would visit us with food and give us political news like the Russian invasion and advance in Poland. This continued about a year where towards the end, Henio tried to convince us that we should escape since the Russians are already in Sandomierz and there was a fear that the Germans would liquidate all the Jews before the Russians would arrive.
During that period of time, my girlfriend, her brother and I thought to escape together. Henio found a hiding spot for the four of us. [there is no mention in this printed testimony who the other two people were, but we know it was Naftali and Yocheved Alter-A.B.]. On the chosen day of escape (mid 1944), Henio cut the fence in advance at the agreed upon place and rode each one of us, one at a time, on his bike and hid us in the forest. We hid in a farmer’s house for three months where, at night, the farmer took care of feeding us and Henio would come once in a while to see us.
After 3 months, the homeowners thought that the Germans discovered us (a German solidier looked innocently on the rooftop and there stood a statue of the holy) and because of their fear, they chased us out that evening. My brother went to look for Henio and he took care of finding a new hiding spot not far from his house, at the home of an elderly non-Jew.
At the home of the elderly non-Jew, we stayed about 2.5 months in the attic where Henio was with us almost all the time
and it was he that took care of all our needs. The elderly woman however could not bear the tension in hiding us although she was very good to us, she demanded from us to leave her home.
Once again, we went to the forest. Henio looked for a new hiding spot in the village of Krzemionki and found a non-Jew there that was willing to hide us in a bunker underground that he dug to hide the 5 of us. After a week, eight German soldiers appeared and beat the homeowners and demanded them to reveal where they were hiding the Jews. The German soldiers pounded their rifles onto the ground to hear if there was hollow ground. The owners handled the beatings with bravery but denied that they are hiding Jews.
That evening, we were forced to leave and once again we went to the forest. Henio and my brother went to look for a new hiding spot in the village of Dębowa Wola [In an interview in 2016 with Henio and Wojtek Mazan, Małkiewicz said that the last hiding place was Maksymilianów a village next to the village of Dębowa Wola -A.B.] there we knew someone who was willing to take us. The five of us stayed in the barn where all our food was just milk that they brought us at midnight.
During these 2 weeks Henio and our acquaintance [who hid us] dug a pit near the barn for the five of us and there we were for 2.5 months until the Russians liberated us on Jan 15, 1945.
During all this time, Henio took care of all our needs and protected us from all harm, and it was clear that he risked his life daily in order to help us.