24.07.2021 | Redaktor

Munz family from Jadowniki

The Jewish Müntz family (their name was also spelled as Minz) lived in Brzesko, Jadowniki and Nowy Wiśnicz.

Mrs Anna Brzyska researched the history of Berisch Minz’s sons born in Jadowniki. The younger brother was Gerszon Szmuel Minz (born 1876), who after some time moved to Brzesko. The older brother, Wolf Minz (born 1872), stayed in Jadowniki and married Chana née Hoffer. They settled in Jadowniki, first in the house number 81, by the main road called Gościniec (this house is no longer there), where their daughters Reisel (1901), Sara Rifka (1904) and Rojza (1906) were born. After a few years, they moved to the house located in the middle of the village, number 343 (this building was also destroyed, it was located  at Środkowa Street in Jadowniki, within lots 49 and 51). That’s where their son Lewi Isaak  (1909) and daughter Dwojra (1911) were born.

Jadowniki, 1967. On the left side of the road, in front of a wooden house, you can see the place where the Muntz family used to live. Photo from the “Chronicles of Jadowniki” by Karol Bernacki.

The chronicler of Jadowniki, Karol Bernacki (1910-1982) established that Chana Müntz was the owner of the store, and Chaim Müntz sold dairy products (Karol Bernacki’s typescript held by the Society of Jadowniki Land Lovers, p. 15, data for 1920).

The book “Jadowniki used to be a royal village”  by Władysław Okas (Łódź-Jadowniki 1994, pp. 108-109) includes a section on Jews from Jadowniki, victims of German racial hatred. It states that Chana Muntz  and her daughter  Rajza were shot in Zbylitowska Góra in 1943. Another daughter, Sura, was shot in Krakow for helping Jews, and the last daughter Stora was shot in Bełżec. Since Stora Minz is not among the offspring of Chana and Wolf Minz, she may have been a daughter-in-law and not a daughter, or there was a mistake in the name.

However, before they perished, the Minz family had lived among the Christian population of Jadowniki. And I would like to share here couple of testimonies of older Jadowniki residents, who still remember Chana and her family who used to be their neighbours.

Ms Zofia Stec (1929-2019), in an interview (recorded by me on October 12, 2014), recalled:

“Before the war, when I was still living with my parents, we had Jewish neighbours. Chana lived in a small wooden house, and her children: Lajbel, Rózia, Surka, Dorka lived with her. One of Chana’s daughters, Dorka I think, had a disabled son named Josiu, and his father was named Idek. It was a very good, decent family, only Rózia made her mother suffer, because she liked very much to sneak out to bonfires together with her Christian friends, where she ate sausage and smoked cigarettes. They all perished during the war. “

Mrs. Maria Małek (born 1933) recalls in an interview (which I recorded on June 21, 2021):

“A Jewish family lived here behind the fence. A long time ago it was the land of the Szafrański family; the Jews bought it before the war and so they lived among us. Chana had a shop here. Jews, but also half of the village used to come here to buy various things. Chana’s son was a butcher, he slaughtered also pigs and sausage could be bought in the shop. I remember it well, because it surprised us a bit. They were not allowed to touch the pigs. Yet they traded. The name of Chana’s son, who was a butcher, was Lajbek. There was also Dora and her sisters, but I don’t remember them well, because later they moved to Brzesko. I was little then and I remember visiting Chana once. I was a bit afraid to go to these Jews, I don’t know why. Maybe because they were of a different faith. Or maybe because sometimes people scared the children that the Jews would kidnap them. But Chana would not kidnap anyone. She was very nice. She would come to us for milk, take milk from my mother in such cans, put them on her back and trade them at the market in Brzesko. They liked each other very much, my mother and her.

I remember when the Germans were gathering all the Jews to the ghetto in Brzesko, they also took Chana and her family. Chana came to say goodbye to my mother. My mother was very worried about their fate, and Chana told her, “Don’t cry for us, Joanna, because we will be served for breakfast and you for dinner.”

The Germans transported Jews from Brzesko to Tarnów. There were so many people that there was not enough cars and no place on the train, so they were also transported by carts. Chana was in one of them and tried to escape when they reached Zbylitowska Góra. She jumped off the wagon straight into the ditch, and the Germans shot her right there. She’s probably buried there somewhere. I know this from my brother Gustek, who was forced to serve as the cart’s driver and saw this. As soon as he came back, he told us that Chana was dead and we knew immediately what happened to her. “

My grandmother, Anna Czernecka, née Kostrzewa (1918-1995), told me many times that she had become Chana’s neighbor in the summer of 1942, when she married Walenty Czernecki and lived with him and his mother Anna Czernecka, a midwife, in the house which was located approximately at # 47, Środkowa Street. According to my grandmother, she and Chana liked each other. Chana, when seeing and hearing what the Germans were doing to the Jews, sensed her death and encouraged my grandmother to take her  land after their departure from the old house, because the Munzes would not return there. But my grandmother thought that it won’t be right. Chana’s house and her land were taken by other neighbours after the war.

My grandmother also told stories about Rózia, who, in the times before the war, would run away to bonfires with her Christian friends and ate sausages there. These fires were  organized by young people in Kamieniec, that is in the fields located at the northern outskirts of the village, near the Szczepanowski Forest. Apparently, these fires were also visited by a young Jewish boy from a  family living in Brzezowiec (a hamlet between Brzesko and Jadowniki), who played the mandolin and was named Mosze (Mosiu, Mojżesz).

My grandmother kept the memory of Chana and was always moved when she heard or sang the song “I poor Rebekah” because she associated it with the Jewish community of Jadowniki.

Thanks to these memories, today we can imagine this Jewish family: Wolf Minz’s widow – Chana – feeling well among Christian neighbours, her son Levi, called Lajbek or Lajbel, a sharp-tongued butcher who did not worry too much about religious regulations to support the family , and his sisters: Sara called Szura or Szurka, Dwojra called Dora or Dorka – the mother of a disabled son Josiek and wife of Idek, and finally the rebellious, lively Rojza or Rózia, who liked sausages and bonfires in good company. All of them were murdered by the German Nazis during World War II, but their memory has survived.

© Sabina Jakubowska, 2021