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January 10: The Child

January 10, 2015

RetrieveAssetJewish slave laborers at the Kopernik labor camp near Mińsk Mazowiecki in central Poland barricaded themselves inside their barracks on this date in 1943 to halt the liquidation of their camp and their inevitable deaths. They fought the SS with sticks, bricks, and rocks until the Germans firebombed the building, which killed four hundred. Among those who died was Rachel Tyrangiel, who with her husband Moshe had left the Mińsk Mazowiecki ghetto and smuggled themselves, with two young daughters, into the labor camp. The children were hidden in the attic of the building until they could be smuggled into the hands of the Zegota Polish rescue group. The elder girl, Guta, pictured above with a relative who was a Jewish policeman, survived the war, and her father’s brother attempted to adopt her, but the Polish couple who had taken her in kept her and raised her.

“A local Catholic priest named Hert, who was working for the Zegota Polish rescue organization, made arrangements for Guta to be taken in by Josef and Bronislawa Jaszczuk, an older, childless Polish couple who lived in Minsk Mazowiecki. They claimed she was their niece, Genowefa Filipak. The Jaszczuks later had to flee their home to escape denunciations from their neighbors. [Her sister] Esther was hidden separately; Guta never saw her again or learned whether or not she survived.” —U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum