Underground hideout for Jewish tailor discovered on farm in central Poland


WARSAW, Poland (JTA) — In an old barn in Otwock, near Warsaw, an underground hiding-place was discovered, in which during World War II the owners of the farm hid their neighbor, a Jewish tailor.

The hideout probably will be moved to the Polish History Museum, according to local reports.

The hideout is located under the barn floor. It is 6 feet and 6 inches long and 4 feet 9 inches wide. It was discovered when the area was being cleared for the construction of a new road.

The owners of the farm were Sabina and Aleksander Smolarek, who during World War II hid Moshe Bajtel from the Nazis at their home. Bajtel escaped from the Nazi camp Treblinka and went to the home of his friends the Smolareks. He hid there until the end of the war, though it was originally believed that he hid only in their attic. The Smolareks were named Righteous Among the Nations from Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in 2004, one of some 7,000 Poles to have received this designation.

Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance has shown an interest in the hideout. Its film crew documented its uncovering before its disassembly. Information about the find already has been sent to the Polish History Museum, which collects artifacts for the emerging permanent exhibitions in its new building.

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