Zygmunt Wolf, born in 1938
My father saved me
I was born in Lwów. My father, Jakub Wolf, was a salaried employee, and mother, Róża, née Sicher, taught in a high school. After the outbreak of the war, Father took part in combat in the ranks of the 26th Infantry Regiment and was wounded. After demobilization, he returned to Lwów and worked in a firm called Promtorg, i.e., a Soviet enterprise engaged in the selling of industrial products.
After demobilization – the Polish Army disbanded when the Germans occupied one half of Poland and the Russians the other.
After the occupation of Lwów by the German Army, our family was quickly subjected to repression. We were thrown out of our apartment and resettled in another quarter. Father worked initially in the Botanical Gardens as a manual laborer and, after January 1942, in a German shoe factory. In March 1942, once again, we were forced to move, this time to the Jewish quarter that was being created. In November 1942, my mother was murdered. Father fashioned a small hiding place for me in the attic of the building because the Germans were searching for children, as they were to be murdered first.
After the successive shrinking of the Lwów Ghetto, my father lost the possibility of hiding me in the secret place he had previously prepared in the building in which we had lived. At that time, he was working on the Aryan side, stoking the fire in a shoe factory. Together with a colleague, he prepared a new hideout for me under a pile of coal. He managed to carry me out of the ghetto. (At that time, I was four years old, and Mother was no longer alive.)
Father returned to the ghetto every day, and he realized that he himself might perish or that somebody could discover my hiding place in the factory. Therefore, he tried to establish contact with Polish acquaintances who would be willing to take me out of there to their place. Mr. Piotr Bąkowski, an inspector in the Botanical Gardens of the University of Lwów, undertook this mission. He transported me out of the factory and then, he hid me with his mentally unbalanced relative who, after the liquidation of the hospital for the mentally ill, lived on the grounds of the Botanical Garden. Unfortunately, I do not know her name. There, until the liberation of Lwów on the twenty- seventh of July, 1944, I spent over a year under very difficult conditions.
My father survived the occupation as well, and with Jewish self- defense units took part in fighting the Germans. When he came for me, I was in a state of total exhaustion. During this entire period, I did not have my hair cut, and I was not bathed or properly nourished. Therefore, I had difficulties with pronunciation, locomotion, and recognizing people. I received medical treatment which lasted more than two years.
In June 1946, we were repatriated to Wałbrzych. Here, I finished secondary school. After matriculating, I did my military service in Łódź. In October 1960, I began my studies at the University of Wrocław and completed them in 1965. Following that, after completing an apprenticeship and passing an examination, I worked in the office of the public prosecutor. After leaving the prosecutor’s office in 1969, I started work in the capacity of legal counsel which I am continuing. I am married to Teresa, née Grzęska, by profession, a doctor of dentistry. I have two children, a daughter, Ewa, and a son, Marek.
…“repatriated to Wałbrzych” – after the war ended, eastern territories, formerly in Poland, became part of the Soviet Union (Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania). Poles were given the opportunity to remain in those countries and become Soviet citizens or relocate to Poland and be “repatriated.”
Wrocław, November 28, 1991–January 16, 1993