Oral history
History witnesses

Krystyn Pawluk

Interlocutor name:
Interlocutor surname:
Józef Markiewicz
Józef Markiewicz
Catalogue number:
Recording date:
15th December 2014
Recording location:
Recording duration:
Recording language:
Recording copyright:
POLIN Museum of the History of the Polish Jews
Poles Active in the Protection of Jewish Heritage

Related places

Interlocutor biogram

Krystyn Pawluk was born in 1929 in Mielnica Podolska, presently in Ukraine. His father was a public notary, and his mother was a teacher. The family had close relations with the Jewish physician, Samuel Silberbush who was deeply involved in what he was doing. The young Krystyn Pawluk was watching the increasing extermination of the Mielnica Jews on the example of Dr Silberbush and other Jews the family was in contact with.

Following the war, the Pawluk family moved to Krakow where Krystyn Pawluk was a student of the University of Science and Technology (AGH). Then, he moved to Warsaw and was employed in the Institute of the Electrical Engineering in Międzylesie.   

Recording circumstances description

Interview has been recorded at interveewee’s apartment in Warsaw.

Recording summary

  1. Recalling Dr Samuel Silberbush from Mielnica Podolska – Krystyn’s native town; Krystyn’s father’s relations with Dr Silberbush; his work as a town councillor; Dr Silberbush’s family; his deep involvement in his work; his cancer disease; 00:00:18
  2. Further information on Dr Samuel Silberbush; the outbreak of World War II; the requisition of the Pawluks’ and Silbebushes’ houses; persecutions; Doctor’s ailing health and his death; his funeral at the Jewish cemetery; Dr Silberbush’ wife and daughter go into hiding; 00:05:34
  3. Relations between the Pawluks and the Silberbushes; 00:10:48
  4. Dr Silberbush’ features of character; Krystyn Pawluk’s father’s friendship with Dr Silberbush and Ukrainian Greek Catholic priest; good relations between Poles, Jews and Ukrainians in Mielnica Podolska; 00:12:23
  5. The life story of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic priest from Mielnica Podolska; anti-religious activities of Soviet agitators; 00:14:27
  6. Dr Silberbush’ attitude to religion; Krystyn’s childhood memories; 00:16:18
  7. Information on Mielnica Podolska in Wikipedia; presence of Catholics at religious services in the Russian Orthodox Church when the Catholic priest was sick; little charisma of the Catholic priest; 00:17:54
  8. Recalling the persecution of Jews by Krystyn Pawluk who was an eyewitness – chasing Jews away from their homes and deporting them from Mielnica, 00:20:15
  9. Remembering the Ajzenberg brothers; a daughter of one of the Ajzenberg brothers being taken away from Mielnica during the pogrom of which Krystyn Pawluk was an eyewitness; 00:23:00
  10. Exceptional attitude of Dr Silberbush to his patients; other physicians in Mielnica; 00:25:05
  11. The respondent’s aunts’ aid for an unknown young Jews – providing him food for one and a half year, 00:26:00
  12. Names of Krystyn Pawluk’s father’s siblings and the information on his mother’s family; 00:27:33
  13. Nationalistic views of the school headmaster in Mielnica; 00:29:29
  14. Education in an Ukrainian lower high school; three kids communicating with one another in Polish; 00:30:48
  15. The economic situation of the Ukrainian farmers; differentiation of the Jewish community in Mielnica; attitudes of various groups of the Jewish community to the Soviet authorities and to their own roots; 00:34:50
  16. Professional activities of the poor Jewish people; synagogues in Mielnica; Jewish religious ceremonies; 00:36:55
  17. Funeral service after Józef Pilsudski’s death – delegations of various religious groups attending ceremonies in the synagogue and the church; 00:39:00
  18. Jewish institutions in Mielnica; Ukrainian, Polish and Jewish schoolchildren observing various religious holidays; participation of Russian Orthodox Church followers in important Catholic celebrations; 00:39:50
  19. The respect paid to the respondent’s grandfather, who - as a public notary - was settling disputes between the Ukrainian farmers; 00:42:12
  20. Cooperation between the Russian Orthodox and Catholic clergy in listening to the confessions of the faithful; 00:43:17
  21. Cemeteries in Mielnica before the war and nowadays; no desire to visit MIelnica today; 00:43:45
  22. Functioning of the Jewish People’s Centre; the establishment of the Jewish Marxist group; Ukrainian organisations; 00:45:30
  23. The respondent’s visit with a part of his family in Lvov in 1944; education in a Polish school in Lvov; 00:48:08
  24. Unpleasant impressions after the visit to the contemporary Lvov; 00:50:20
  25. The recollection of the religious service in the Armenian church in Lvov; encounter with the Armenians at the scientific conference in Montreal; remembering Krystyn Pawluk’s father’s Armenian client; remembering an Armenian female teacher; 00:56:10
  26. The respondent’s education and professional path of career – education in Lvov; moving to Krakow after the end of World War II, studies at the University of Science and Technology (AGH) in Krakow; move to Warsaw and work in the Institute of the Electrical Engineering in Międzylesie; 01:03:20
  27. The Jewish pharmacist in Mielnica; 01:04:30
  28. The life story of the sister of the Jewish lawyer from Mielnica who came to Mielnica from Berlin in the 1930s; 01:05:41
  29. The hiding Jews during World War II; 01:09:14
  30. The fate of Jews who avoided the first transports; entrance of the Hungarian troops to Mielnica; 00:12:0
  31. The attitudes of the Ukrainians during World War II; 00:15:38
  32. The respondent’s family’s sentiment for Lvov; the lack of illusions as to the possibility to return to the home regions after World War II; 00:19:20
  33. The life story of the respondent’s uncle who cooperated with the Home Army – his ten-years- long detention in the camp; his return to Poland and his scientific career; 01:22:30
  34. The respondent’s father’s breakdown after the war; his longing for the work as a public notary and his strong link with his work as a notary in Mielnica; 01:24:38
  35. The departures of the Poles from Mielnica and Lvov; the situation on the market of the residential buildings in Krakow; delay in the respondent’s parents’ decision to move to Krakow; 01:26:45
  36. The respondent’s memories from Lvov – playing in parks; his mother’s job; visits to theatres and the Opera House; 01:28:07
  37. Work on a farm, which helped the family to avoid hunger; the cumin; 01:31:19
  38. The initial lack of awareness that Jews were transported to the death camps; 01:34:16
  39. The state of synagogues, Russian Orthodox churches and Catholic churches; 01:35:34
  40. The post-war relations with the family; 01:37:15
  41. Scarce information on the Poles and Jews in contemporary historical narration on Mielnica; 01:38:37




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