About Yad Vashem
Righteous Among the Nations Ceremony Honoring Jan and Julia Lisieczynski from Poland
June 30, 2010
On Wednesday, June 30, 2010, Yad Vashem posthumously honored Jan and Julia Lisieczynski from Poland as Righteous Among the Nations. It was the Department of the Righteous Among the Nations that brought the two families together. With the help of the Israeli embassy in Warsaw Yad Vashem was able to find the granddaughter of the rescuers and contact between the two families was reestablished 66 years after the Lisieczynski family had left Ludmir after the liberation and parted from Ben Zion and Yehzkel Reiber, the two brothers they had hidden and saved. In a moving ceremony in the Garden of the Righteous, Irena Steinfeldt, Director of the Righteous Among the Nations Department, presented the awards to the rescuers' granddaughter, Krystyna Kudiuk, who had come from Poland with her daughter and granddaughter. The ceremony was attended by H.E. Ms. Agnieszka Magdziak-Miszewska, Polish Ambassador to Israel, survivor Ben Zion Reiber, his family and the family of his late brother Yehezkel. "They saved us," said Reiber, "They hid us. They guarded our lives while risking their own. They did it because they had a full heart."
Yitzhak and Sara Reiber and their children Ben Zion, Bilha and Yehezkel lived in the city of Ludmir. After the Germans invaded, Yitzhak was sent to forced labor as a painter in the local dairy. One day, Jan Lisieczynski, the Polish manager of the dairy, asked Yitzhak to whitewash his home. Yitzhak agreed, but instead of a fee, he requested a small amount of milk and cheese as payment. Jan and Julia's two granddaughters arrived at the Reiber's home each day with two liters of milk and half a kilo of cheese. Even after all the Jews had been relocated to the ghetto, the girls continued to arrive with a supply of food.
The Reiber Family managed to survive the first Aktion. They hid in various places, but not together. At one point, Jan found Yitzhak and took him into his home. Meanwhile, Ben Zion and Yehezkel returned to the ghetto, in order to discover the whereabouts of their mother and sister, but discovered that they had been murdered. One day, Ben Zion received a message that a non-Jew was searching for him, and wanted to meet him near the ghetto fence. The Lisieczynskis' son was waiting for him there, promising to take the boys to their father. After arriving at the Lisieczynskis' home, the boys informed their father that a ghetto was being built for tradesmen. Yitzhak signed up as a painter and the family moved into the new ghetto. Occasionally Yitzhak sent his sons to the Lisieczynski's home where they were introduced as relatives from the village.
At the beginning of December 1943, the Lisieczynski's daughter, who was employed as the secretary of a German official, heard that the Germans were planning another Aktion and warned the Reibers. Once again Yitzhak took his children to Jan and Julia. On December 16, 1943, the Germans, together with Ukrainian military police destroyed the tradesmen's ghetto. Yitzhak was shot and murdered on his way to work in a factory. The brothers, Yehezkel and Ben Zion were rescued, thanks to the warning they had received, by hiding in a pit under the floor of the Lisieczynski's home. The brothers remained with the Lisieczynskis until the liberation of the Red Army on June 22, 1944.
After liberation, the Lisieczynskis left their home in Ludmir, emigrating to the Polish area. The Reiber brothers remained in the house in Ludmir, the Lisieczynskis having provided them with food. Before departing from Ludmir, Jan gave the brothers a deposit that Yitzhak had left with him at the outbreak of the war.
Julia Lisieczynski passed away in 1963, and Jan two years later in 1965. For more information on the Righteous Among the Nations.