Trip to Ulanów


Last October 1999, I went to Ulanów.  I made the long drive from Krakow, together with my partner and our guide, a student.  The guide had rung Father Lizak of Ulanów and arranged for us to visit him at his house.  I found him to be a wonderful man.  He gave us tea and cakes and described his efforts to restore the Jewish cemetery and his sadness at the somewhat dilapidated and vandalized state of the gates and fencing.  He then took us to meet Mr. and Mrs. Tadeusz Kumik (see information on homepage about the book  Mr. Kumik wrote about the history of Ulanów), who received us in their home and presented me with a copy of his book, Ulanów.  Mr. Kumik tried to emphasize the friendship between the Catholics and the Jews.  He was aware of the criticism about what he had written in his book.  His wife, who said that she is amongst the Righteous Gentiles in Yad Vashem, told us how she and her mother had hidden a Jewish boy for a year “between the wall and the stove” until he went out to join a resistance group in the countryside and was not heard from again.  Apparently, the Jewish boy had a beautiful singing voice and the Catholics gave him cakes and bread in thanks for his rendition of Christmas songs, which he took to the resistance group.  With Mr. Kumik, we drove further around the town and to the cemetery.  He pointed out the house which stands on the site of the house where my Hackels had lived.  He remembered the Hackels from before the war, but he said that the Wurtzels were “forgotten” in the village (they had left the village by the turn of the century).  I saw the High School, which is on the site of the synagogue which was burned down during WWII.

I took a number of photographs of the town and the Jewish cemetery (see photos from Ulanów Homepage).  I did not realize then that the tombstones only contain first names.  I assume, however, that my ancestors were buried there.  It was a deeply emotional day, especially because I was there on the anniversary of the deportation!

Written by David Wurtzel, with his permission.
Edited by Melody Katz


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