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Testimony given by Stanley and Lusia Igel about Michał Gierula who hid their family and other Jews in Łozina Górna in 1943, and who was murdered with his wife by the Germans for hiding Jews.

Testimony given by Stanley and Lusia Igel about Michał Gierula who hid their family and other Jews in Łozina Górna in 1943, and who was murdered with his wife by the Germans for hiding Jews.

We hereby give testimony about the following events that took place in 1943, during the Nazi occupation, in Łodzinka Górna near Bircza. At night we, the soldiers of the Home Army and others, 7 persons in total, left the woods where we were hiding and reached Łodzinka Górna. There, we stayed in Mr. Michał Gierula’s farm and asked him for help. It was winter and it was freezing cold outside. Without hesitation, Mr. Gierula quickly took us to a barn where he prepared a makeshift bedding for us, and then brought us food. Thanks to his help, we were able to rest and gather strength, and what is more we were not exposed to cold. We stayed four days at Mr. Gierula’s farm. Throughout this time, he provided us with food, heat and anything else that we needed to survive. Sunday morning Mr. Gierula went to church where he met an inhabitant of his town who somehow found out that he was hiding partisans and Jews. This woman told him: “Don’t be such a hero because you are hiding partisans and Jews.” After having returned from the church, Gierula called me, that is Stanley Igel, and informed me that the whole village knew that he was hiding partisans and Jews. I answered him that our entire troop would leave that night so as not to pose his life at risk from the occupant’s side. Hearing this, Gierula protested and said that we could stay. Nonetheless we, that is: I, Stanley Igel, my wife Lusia Igel, my brother Martyn Igel, as well as my father Gustaw Igel left Mr. Gierula’s farm at night while three other persons stayed. On Tuesday morning the Ukrainian police came to the village. After having searched Gierula’s farm buildings, they found the remaining three Jews whom they shot immediately before the farmer’s eyes and buried them in the yard. During the search Gestapo also found my small suitcase in which I kept my military documents, as well as pictures and family mementoes, addresses and telephones. Gestapo demanded Gierula to denounce us. Gierula knew where we were hiding but he did not tell the Gestapo about it. Gierula and his wife were arrested and transported to the Czarniecki Street in Przemyśl where they were imprisoned for 6 weeks. During their imprisonment, the Gierulas were beaten and tortured in order to reveal the place where we, that is the Igel family, were hiding. Although the Gierulas were treated in such an inhumane manner and knew where we and our child – little daughter Marysia – stayed, they did not denounce us and did not say a word during the hearings. Upon realizing that the hearings and tortures were to no avail, Gestapo sentenced and hanged Michał Gierula and his wife, Katarzyna, in “Plac na Bramie” square in Przemyśl. We believe that the behavior and attitude of Michał Gierula and his wife deserve the highest admiration and recognition. For us, it is an unimaginable and heroic act because they scarified their own lives to save ours. Any information given in our testimony is true, which we hereby confirm with our handwritten signatures.

Source: Archives of the Jewish Historical Institute, Yad Vashem, 1875, mps. ”[1.1]

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[1.1] Rączy Elżbieta, Pomoc Polaków dla ludności żydowskiej na Rzeszowszczyźnie 1939 – 1945, Rzeszów 2008, pp.280-281

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