Henryk Lewandowski, born in 1929
Under the protection of “Żegota”
I was born in Zamość where my father, Dawid Garfinkiel, was co-owner of a brewery. My mother, Maria, née Jungman, was also from Zamość. From the beginning of the war in 1939 until October 1942, I stayed with my family in Zamość. From April until November 1942, I was in the Zamość Ghetto. In 1942, I worked as a young laborer for the Ortskommandantur Zamość (garrison command) which protected me from being deported to the death camp in Bełżec to which Jews from Zamość were being sent.
The account of H. Lewandowski (Garfinkiel), containing more facts about persons at whose places he was hiding during the occupation, was published in W. Bartoszewski and Z. Lewin, Ten jest z ojczyzny mojej. Polacy z pomocą Żydom 1939-1945 (He is My Fellow Countryman, Poles Helping Jews 1939–1945), 2nd ed. (Kraków: Znak Publishing House, 1969), 174–76. (Author’s note)
At the time of the liquidation of the ghetto in Zamość, and after a brief two-week stay in the ghetto in Izbica during the time of its liquidation, we left illegally for Warsaw. Each of us made the trip separately in order to minimize losses in the event that any one of us might be caught. Indeed, during the trip, my mother and my grandmother, Raizla Jungman, were taken off a train and, after a few days, shot to death in Rejowiec. This was in November 1942.
In Warsaw, I stayed on the Aryan side until August 1944, maintaining limited contact with the remaining members of my family, namely with Father (he was in hiding as Michał Dziwul), my aunt (Rachela Jungman, alias Halina Skalska), and my uncle, Mieczysław Garfinkiel, who had been the chairman of the Judenrat in Zamość until the time of the liquidation of the ghetto.
Judenrat – Jewish self-governing council within the ghetto that interfaced with the Germans.
During this entire time, I received assistance from Żegota. In this regard, it was Mr. Stefan Sendłak, an activist in the Polish Socialist Party, who looked after the group of Lublin-Zamość Jews (a so-called parish). At times, we were also assisted by Mr. Marian Rybicki, minister of justice after the war.
In Warsaw, I changed the place where I lived five times, because most of the time, these were transient lodgings. For a longer time, I lived at 11 Krzycki Street in the Ochota district at Mrs. Janina Wolska’s.
On the eighth of August 1944, during the Warsaw Uprising, I was removed from the city, along with the other inhabitants of the house. After going through the “green market” as well as the transit camp in Pruszków, I was sent to the Łowicz area. There, in the village of Różyce Zastruga (Łowicz area), I worked on the farm of Mr. Józef Walczak until January 1945, i.e., until liberation.
“green market” – the green market was where produce was sold or traded.
Out of my family, in total, quite a few persons survived. Both the brother and sister of my mother, Izaak and Rachela Jungman, as well as my father and his brother, Mieczysław. After the war, they all emigrated from Poland and are no longer alive. However, my grandparents and another brother of my mother, Mojżesz Jungman, perished.
After the war, I finished my studies. Initially, I worked with the youth movement, later, with tourism (most recently in the “Gromada” agency).
At present, I live with my wife, Maria, age fifty-nine, while son, Ryszard, (born in 1956) and daughter, Jolanta, (born in 1957) have their own homes. I have lived to see two grandchildren. In August 1992, I retired after forty-seven years of professional work in Poland.
Warsaw, November 1992