Video testimonies from the Pilecki Institute Archives
The Witold Pilecki Institute of Solidarity and Valor in Warsaw records the reminiscences of people who witnessed history as part of the “Witnesses to the Age” project.
By courtesy of the project’s managers, as part of the “War-time Nowy Sącz”, we share the interviews that relate to our city and its vicinity.
Reminiscences of Mr. Józef Czop, recorded on 26 June 2021 in Nowy Sącz.
Józef Czop (born 1932 in Nowy Sącz) comes from a railwaymen family. During World War II he lived in Nowy Sącz, where he witnessed, among others, the blowing up of the castle and the liquidation of the ghetto. As a teenager, he worked on the construction of German trenches. After the war, he graduated from the railway vocational school and worked on the railway for over 41 years. Very attached to his hometown, he played for the “Sandecja Nowy Sącz” football club.
Reminiscences of Mrs. Maria Harcuła, recorded on 11 July 2019 in Nowy Sącz.
Maria Harcuła (born 1945 in Nowy Sącz) relates the family traditions from the partition period, the interwar period, the German occupation and the days after the Russians took over Nowy Sącz. She recalls the story of Col. Piasecki, who lived close by, and who was murdered in Auschwitz. She talks about her childhood, school education and the Higher College of Teacher Training in Kraków. She also talks about the changes in Nowy Sącz she personally witnessed, about her passion for acting and her numerous performances in Nowy Sącz and Krakow, as well as about her professional work and her brother prof. Józef Lipiec.
Reminiscences of Mr. Stanisław Harnik, recorded on 11 July 2019 in Nowy Sącz.
Stanisław Harnik (born 1934 in Nowy Sącz) recalls his childhood in Nowy Sącz, where he grew up in a craftsmen and railwaymen family. He talks about the pre-war Nowy Sącz and its most important locations, such as „Venice” or the castle. He recalls the period of German occupation and the battle for the city in January 1945, when he saw the blown up royal castle. He talks about his post-war education in schools in Nowy Sącz and Olsztyn, where he graduated from the university, and he also mentions his sports achievements as a boxer.
Reminiscences of Mrs Irena Nieć, recorded on 10 July 2019 in Nowy Sącz.
Irena Nieć née Sokulska (born 1934 in Nowy Sącz) recalls the times of her youth, when she lived almost in the center of Nowy Sącz, and her parents ran a large shop in the main market square. She talks about a family from Lviv, their neighbors. She recalls the German occupation, the blowing up of the castle and the coming of the Red Army, as well as her post-war life and acting career at the Workers’ Theatre in Nowy Sącz.
Reminiscences of Mrs. Maria Krzykalska, recorded on 10 July 2019 in Nowy Sącz.
Maria Krzykalska (born 1951 in Nowy Sącz) recalls family stories about the roots of the Freisler family from which she comes. She talks about the pre-war years and the period of German occupation. She pays special attention to Jan Freisler, a well-known courier who smuggled people from occupied Poland to Hungary. Maria also recalls her childhood at Freisler family house on Nawojowska Str. in Nowy Sącz, studying at the Higher College of Teacher Training in Kraków and her professional life.
Reminiscences of Mr. Tadeusz Rychlak, recorded on 26 June 2021 in Nowy Sącz.
Tadeusz Rychlak (born 1927 in Nowy Sącz) comes from a railwaymen family living in the “Hell” district – the infamous part of Nowy Sącz, which was a real mix of cultures. Mr. Tadeusz has been living in his house continuously for 94 years He talks about the pre-war Nowy Sącz, including the flood of 1934. During the German occupation, he witnessed German crimes, including the liquidation of the ghetto. After the war, he became involved in the scouting organization, which he is still associated with today. A science teacher by profession, he worked in primary schools in Stara Wieś, Korzenna, Mszalnica and Paszyn and in the Special School in Nowy Sącz.
Reminiscences of Mr. Edward Storch, recorded on 25 June 2021 in Nowy Sącz.
Edward Storch (born 1935 in Nowy Sącz) comes from a farming family, from a village of Gołąbkowice, which no longer exists today (it is now a district of Nowy Sącz). He graduated from high school in Nowy Sącz and from a local branch of the Faculty of Art and Pedagogy of the Silesian University in Cieszyn. He worked as a teacher at the primary school in Piątkowa and at the College of Teacher Training in Nowy Sącz. He has been a member of the Polish Tourist and Sightseeing Society (PTTK) since 1978, a field guide in the Beskid Mountains and a tour pilot. He is the chairman of the “Beskid” Branch of the Committee for the Protection of Historical Monuments.
Reminiscences of Mrs. Joanna Wiśniewska, recorded on 30 June 2021 in Nowy Sącz.
Joanna Wiśniewska née Kowal (born 1932 in Nowy Sącz) spent her childhood among railway workers. In 1950, after graduating from the Pedagogical High School in Nowy Sącz, she received an administrative work order to go to primary school in Lisia Góra. She studied in Poznań, later she worked at the Pedagogical College in Tarnów. After her wedding, she moved to Żywiec, studied Russian philology in Krakow externally and worked at the Pedagogical College in Żywiec and in the Board of Education. She lives in Nowy Sącz
Reminiscences of Mrs. Irena Zielińska, recorded on 10 July 2019 in Nowy Sącz.
Irena Zielińska née Bereś (born 1933 in Nowy Sącz) describes the pre-war Nowy Sącz, her childhood and the hard period after her mother’s death. She talks about the German occupation and the fate of the Jewish people. She recalls the end of the war, the 1956 Poznań protests, which she witnessed, as well as the Martial law in Poland. She talks about her brother Jerzy Bereś, a recognized artist – sculptor.