Woroniecka Sinkiewicz Helena
* 1921 – 2003
* Recognized in 2000
Woroniecka Sinkiewicz Helena
About the rescuer and the rescue story
In the summer of 1941, when rumors of the creation of a ghetto in neighboring Wilno and the extermination in the surrounding towns reached Šalčininkėliai, Lithuania, the three Schneider brothers, Hirsch, Gershon and Gedaliah, and their friend Shlomo Lemelman (later, Saul Leyman) decided that if the Lithuanian police also came to their town to take the Jews away, they would flee. On the eve of Rosh Hashanah 1941, when they saw Lithuanian soldiers entering the town, the four fled to the neighboring village of Žlougtai, to the home of their old acquaintances, the Woronieckis, who took them in. The Woronieckis were a family of six, the parents Józef and Maria and their four children Wiktor, Helena, Bronisława and Zofia aged 13 to 22. They were a poor farm family, kindhearted and ethical people. The father Józef had good relations with the Schneider family who were timber merchants. He remained loyal to them in their time of need and he also brought up his children in this spirit. He hid the four Jewish boys in the loft of the cowshed and he shared with them his meager pittance without hesitation. Moreover, he knew that his wards were religious and did not eat non-kosher food. Therefore, he ordered his family to give them only dairy food from the only cow they had.
The danger that menaced the four concealed boys and their rescuers was not only from the Germans but also from partisans in the vicinity who suspected Woroniecki of hiding Jews and harassed him. They took the eldest son Wiktor and tortured him in order to find out where they were hiding Jews but he did not yield. Despite the violence suffered by the Woroniecki family as a result of hiding the four Jewish boys, they never made them feel unwelcome. When the risk increased, the boys were sent to hide in the forest for periods of time, but their solid base until the liberation remained in the humble one-room home of the Woroniecki family. After the war, the Schneider brothers remained in contact with their rescuers. On one of Gedaliah's visits to the Woroniecki home to recuperate, the son Wiktor saved him from the hands of Polish partisans who sought to murder him.
Helena's family says:
Helena was a great mother and grandmother. Although she only completed a few grades and spoke almost no Lithuanian, she was always witty and knew how to laugh at herself. She did not shy away from curious situations. She used to talk a lot about her childhood, her youth and the war. She was very hard-working, had a large farm and gardens. She had four children with her husband Zenonas: Marija, Vladyslavas, Henrikas and Michaelis. Unfortunately, her husband's early death left her a young widow and she did not start another family, living with her son Henrikas and his family until her death. She is remembered with a smile by her many grown grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who remember her as always quick, cheerful, smiling and full of energy.
Rescued persons (Yad Vashem web page):
Information collected using:
Memories of the families of Sofija, Helena and Bronisława
Helena with guests from Israel, son Henrik, daughter-in-law Danute, granddaughters Renata and Vladyslava
Helena with her husband and daughter
Helena with her husband Zenonas, children Vladyslav, Marija and Henrikas (the youngest son Michaelis is still unborn)