Al Cislowski

Al Cislowski

Anczel Cislowski was born 1928 in Bodzentyn.

In all the years Anczel Cislowski has always been very quiet about his past. However, in 2017, at the age of 88, Anczel decided it was time to tell his story so his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren can remember him as he is and was.

   – I spoke with my eyes closed to a voice recorder, Anczel says. Some writers would give more fancy words. I could only express what I remembered.

  Anczel's story in his own words was then published in the book The Survival Story of Anczel Cislowski. In January 2019 Anczel also gave an interview at the USC Shoah Foundation.


Anczel's father, Dawid Cislowski, was a tailor in Bodzentyn. The family received additional income from picking fruit.

   – Three months every summer we moved to a shack at the orchards, Anczel says.


Like other Jewish children, Anczel attended both regular school and cheder, a private day school where the emphasis was placed on religious study.


At the time of the ghetto, Anczel was living with his father, mother and siblings at Kielce Street No. 13.

   – I kept a stamp collection, Anczel recalls. Before we left the ghetto I moved it from a drawer in the house to the attic. Most probably it was lost. No one mentioned that they had found it after the war.


In March 1942 his cousin Dawid Rubinowicz moved in, together with his father, mother and siblings. As many of Anczel's relatives, the Rubinowicz family came from Krajno, a small close-by village.

   The well-known diary of Dawid was found some fifteen years later.

Anczel's cousin, Dawid Rubinowicz, began writing a diary on 21 March 1940 in Krajno. The five copybooks were discovered in 1957. On one of the covers, the name A Cislowski appears. Read more about Dawid Rubinowicz >>

The majority of the members of the Cislowski family fled to work in the munitions factory in Starachowice-Wierzbnik before the liquidation of the ghetto.


Anczel's father Dawid and mother Chaya were killed during the Holocaust, as were his brothers Avram and Aaron.


Avram had escaped from the ghetto and gone into hiding together with Alter Grossman, Moniek Grossman and Fisz Dawid. After the war, three journalists from Warsaw wrote about the family that hid Avram.


A Polish woman named Stanislawa Dziuba who lived together with her mother and brother in a modest isolated farmhouse described to the journalists how the family tried to help the four Jews.

Avram, Alter, Moniek and Fisz all stayed in something like an underground cellar and the family gave them food and hid them so that they had a chance to survive. When Avram came out from the woods trying to buy some food, he was shot to death. It is said that his body was buried in the Jewish cemetery of Bodzentyn.


Sources

  • Editor's interview with Al Cislowski, April 2018.
  • 1929 Polish Business Directory Project, JRI Poland in cooperation with JewishGen: “Krawcy (tailleurs): Cislowski D. Wojewodztwo Kieleckie, Krajno,” p. 235 (an electronically-posted copy is available at http://www.jewishgen.org/.
  • The interview about the four Jews was published in an article called "Wyjscie z Bodzentyna" (Coming out from Bodzentyn) in the magazine "Nowa Kultura" number 19 from 5th May 1960.


Useful information

  • Interview code of the USC Shoah Foundation recording: 57188.
  • A short interview with Anczel's sister, Ruchla Roza Cisłowska Zilberberg, was published in 1960: Janicki J., Wiernik W. (1960). “Telefon” in Reszta nie jest milczeniem. Warsaw.
  • The situation in Starachowice-Wierzbnik can be studied in more detail in Remembering Survival: Inside a Nazi Slave-Labor Camp by Christopher R. Browning (2011).
  • Assisted by his two sons, David and Joseph, Al Cislowski has proofread the text on this page. Today, Al Cislowski lives in California.

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