Kozik, Shimon (Sam)
Mr. Shimon Kozik was born in Mlawa, Poland in 1912. His father, Jacob was born in Mlawa and his mother Esther (maiden name Bodziner) was born forty miles from Mlawa. He had five brothers and one sister. Mr. Kozik was the second oldest. His brothers were Yechiel (born 1898), Isaac, Yishmael, Aron and Yisrael. His sister Rachel was born in 1900.
His father died a couple of months before the war and his mother was taken to a concentration camp. Before the war, Mr. Kozik’s grandmother was eighty-six years old and owned a grocery store.
There were six thousand, five hundred Jews in his city, which was one hundred fifty miles from the German border. The city belonged to both Poland and Germany. The Poles were happy that Hitler was getting rid of the Jews. Most were anti-Semites, “both then and now.” The Jews were segregated, but the Poles were always hostile, hitting, throwing stones and name calling. This was never reported to the police, they “just gave into it; it was generally quiet.”
In 1937 to 1939, Mr. Kozik served in the Polish Army. The war broke out and he was mobilized into the Polish Army with his brother, Yisrael. This then followed with four years serving in the Russian Red Army.
In 1945, too old for the army, Mr. Kozik wanted a release from the military and return home to Poland. He was offered a job with the Russian White Army in Minsk. It took four weeks, but he was given his military release and left for Warsaw, then back to Mlawa.
On his return to Poland, Mr. Kozik heard and saw the devastation that occurred in the region to the Jewish population and towns.
Mlawa was leveled. It was found that sixty to seventy percent of Mlawa was destroyed and bodies were found, twenty thousand of the Jews were executed by the Germans. Forty nine were shot and buried in a mass grave, as well as others hanged and shot. Mr. Kozik along with a few other Jewish survivors and some local gentiles dug up the remains, and built a new grave in the Jewish section of the cemetery. They erected a monument which was then destroyed by the Poles in 1946. A new monument was also destroyed. (There are photos of this and the monument on the video.) Eventually the city put up a permanent monument on the original site in memory of 75 citizens; which remains to this day.
Mr. Kozik went to Israel in 1949 and lived there for five to six years during difficult times. He had a very hard life, married, and had a daughter; and later two grandchildren.
Date: February 12, 2002
Interviewer: Robert Tachna (son of Dovid Tachna, victim of the Mlawa massacre)
Length: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Format: Video Recording