Olszewska, Franciszka (Dudzik)

Olszewska, Franciszka (Dudzik)

Righteous Gentile
Czarkow (Poland)

Mrs. Franciszka Olszewska was born in Czarkow, Poland in 1931.  There were ten in her family. She was the third child.  Her parents were Madjick and Sophia Dudzik.  They were farmers who grew wheat and vegetables.  They were very comfortable.  The family attended Catholic Church on Sundays and the children went to public school.  They knew one Jewish family and played with their children.

In September of 1939, the war began.  Mrs. Olszewska’s family went into the forest and stayed for two days.  The windows in her house were broken and everything was removed.  The German soldiers on their horses were frightening.  Their food supply became scarce and they had to give their crops to the Germans.  The gossip she heard was that Germany overwhelmed Poland and that Hitler was the devil and hated the Jews.

Mrs. Olszewska’s schooling continued and she finished high school, helped on the farm by milking the cows.  Her family was religious.

The Alweiss family began hiding on her farm.  They pretended that the two boys, Saul and Ziggy, were their brothers.  They stayed in the house and barn and, on occasion, in the fields.

Everyone in the family knew and kept the secret.  Nazis came and left.

Her father said to the boys “Stay upstairs.”  They never thought of throwing them out.  Mrs. Olszewska brought the boys food and water.  When the weather was hot, they stayed in the barn, always aware of the danger.

Mr. Alweiss was a horse trader and would come and go to other houses in nearby villages.  The two boys were then ages fifteen and eighteen.

Mrs. Olszewska’s mother cooked meat, cabbage and potatoes in a four gallon pot and everyone ate out of it.  She called the boys her brothers and wished that they could play outside with her.

In August of 1944, they went into the forest to hide and then joined the army in the Ukraine.  Even after the Russians liberated Poland, it still wasn’t safe.  There were fifty houses in their village, but only one radio.  If you wanted additional information, you had to travel at least ten miles away.  Their priest didn’t know anything.

Mrs. Olszewska married and all of her children were born in Poland: Ursula, Boguslaw, Sanina and Ladwiga.  She arrived in the United States in 1986.  Her two sisters live in Chicago and one granddaughter found the two “Alweiss brothers” on the internet.  They were shocked to find that they were only minutes from each other in Michigan.  She lives in Hamtramck and the “boys” live in Bloomfield Hills.  Three of her children live near their mother and one lives in Arizona.

THE ALWEISS STORY (Read by Donna R. Sklar):
Their family had nine children.  All were murdered except for the father and the two sons.  They remembered that in the summer of 1943, they asked Mr. Dudzik for a piece of bread and he invited them to stay.

Interview information:
Date: June 7, 1999
Interviewer: Donna R. Sklar
Length: 1 hour and 9 minutes
Format: VHS