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Helena D., born in 1928: “Before the war, there were a few Jewish families living in Hyżne. A Jew named Wałek used to live on the hill commonly known as “Cyganówka”. He owned a store. Another one was called Lolek, and there was also a Jewish woman, a seamstress. Other Jewish names I remember are: Sznel, Mantel, Berko. The latter had figs and after school, other children and I went to buy figs from him. There was also a Jewish man who had a radio in his house. Everyone went to his house to listen to the radio. I don’t remember his name or what happened to him, but I recall that he took care of the local public baths. People came to his house to bathe. The Jews didn’t have a synagogue or house of prayer in Hyżne. They had to go to Tyczyn, located 12 km away, in the direction of Rzeszów, where there was a synagogue as well as a Jewish cemetery. There were many Jews in Tyczyn. Jewish and non-Jewish children went to school together. During religious classes, sometimes the Jewish children went out, but they could also stay and attend the class, it did not bother the priest.” (Witness N°1380P, interviewed in Nieborów, on September 23, 2022)
Hyżne is a village in Poland, seat of the gmina of Hyżne, located in the powiat of Rzeszów in the Subcarpathian Voivodeship. It is located about 22 km southeast of the capital of the region, Rzeszów. Not much is known about the prewar Jewish community from Hyżne. At the end of the 19th century, the village had 113 houses and 727 inhabitants, including 34 Jews. Before the outbreak of the Second World War, several Jewish families lived in the village. They were mainly involved in handicraft and small trade. The Mantel family had a shop in which local inhabitants would buy essential products. Another Jewish family from Hyżne were Herszko, Frydek and Mirka Stelzer and their parents.
Hyżne was occupied by German troops in September 1939. In the first half of 1942, an order was issued to relocate the Jews to the ghetto in Jawornik Polski. Only young Jews were left behind, in order to work on a local estate for the benefit of the Third Reich. Jews from Hyżne and neighboring villages who avoided the deportation were successively caught and shot in many different localities. One of them was a hill in Hyżne, commonly called “Małkówka”. Many Poles were also executed at the same site. The number of victims killed and buried at this location remains unknown. After the war, a brickyard was built at the site. According to villagers, people who went there to collect sand would sometimes find human remains. Today, the “Małkówka” hill is overgrown with vegetation and remains without any memorial commemorating the victims. When the Nazis began deporting Jews from Hyżne, some non-Jewish inhabitants began helping the Jews. Such was the case of the Herr family, a family of Catholic farmers, who decided to take action to try to save some of their Jewish neighbors. Worth mentioning is the story of the Herr family from Hyżne, who, risking their own lives, helped their Jewish neighbors: Hersz, Frydek and Mirka from the Stelzer family. In recognition of their heroic actions, the Herr family from Hyżne was awarded the title of Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem.
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