Basement used to hide Jews during Holocaust is listed as heritage site
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Basement used to hide Jews during Holocaust is listed as heritage site

From the Depths director Jonny Daniels uncovers and films a TV spot at the site of a hiding place where Poles saved two Jewish Girls and were then killed for their actions at a local village house on June 30, 2015 in Ciepielów, Poland.

 (Photo by Elan Kawesch)
From the Depths director Jonny Daniels uncovers and films a TV spot at the site of a hiding place where Poles saved two Jewish Girls and were then killed for their actions at a local village house on June 30, 2015 in Ciepielów, Poland. (Photo by Elan Kawesch)
From the Depths uncovers and films a TV spot at the site of a hiding place where Poles saved two Jewish Girls and were then killed for their actions at a local village house on June 30, 2015 in Ciepielów, Poland. (Photo by Elan Kawesch)
Jonny Daniels in the basement hideout. (Photo by Elan Kawesch)

The basement of a home in Poland that was used to hide Jews during the Holocaust has been listed as a national heritage site.

The subterranean space, the only known hiding place of its kind still in existence, was located by a Jewish heritage organisation, and found to have been untouched since two Christian Polish families in Rekówka, two hours’ south of Warsaw, hid six Jews and 10 Poles from the Nazis.

In 1942, after a neighbour had told the authorities about what they were doing, German soldiers descended on the farm building jointly owned by the Skoczylas and Kosiorów families.

The Jews were not there, but the Nazis found a book written in Yiddish, which they took as proof. They rounded up 10 members of the two families, including children, took them to a barn, locked them inside and set fire to it, shooting a child who managed to escape.

“This hiding place is a crucial part of remembering and honouring their bravery,” said Jonny Daniels, president of From The Depths, an organisation working to preserve Jewish sites in Poland.

Martin Skoczylas holds a picture of his heroic grandfather who hid a group of Jews
Martin Skoczylas holds a picture of his heroic grandfather who hid a group of Jews

“To be the first Jew in here, more than 70 years after these families gave their lives hiding Jews in it, fills me with so many difficult emotions.”

Rafal Nadolny, head of conservation for Masovian District, said: “It is very important that future generations can personally touch a site like this, such as one learns of in memoirs and historical studies.”

Daniels added that the search was now on for the six Jews who took shelter in the specially-adapted basement. He also wants to preserve the site. “They paid the ultimate price for their bravery,” he said.

“The least we can do as a foundation is make sure this hiding place, the only known hiding place still in existence, is preserved and kept for generations to come.”

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