Henryk Prajs' false ID

Henryk Prajs' false ID
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  • Photo taken in:
    Gora Kalwaria
    Year when photo was taken:
    1942
    Country name at time of photo:
    General Government, 1939-1945
    Country name today:
    Poland
This is my false ID, which I got from a friend of my neighbor, Mrs. Wasilewska, when I ran away from the labor camp in Olszewo. From that time to the end of war my name was Feliks Zoladek, born on 24th October 1915 in Regonie. This paper saved my life. After my escape, somehow I managed to get through to Gora Kalwaria. I went to my neighbor, Mrs. Wasilewska. She immediately started to plan what to do. We went to Osieck together, to a parish priest, Kuropek was his name I think. He issued a birth certificate for me. Later I got myself a kenkarta, in the name Feliks Zoladek. You had to do it with the help of friends and friends of friends. Because the priest gave me the certificate, but not the kenkarta, naturally. A friend took the certificate, went to one of those doing funny business, that is, people who fabricated false IDs, and had them make me a kenkarta, that's how it was done. It wasn't legal. I lived in the country, staying with different farmers and tailoring for them. One told some other he knew a tailor, and so I kept going from one person to another. Some of them knew I was a Jew, they figured it out, but well, I did survive. I stayed in one village, returned to another, kept in hiding for some time, had to run away on another occasion, one was always looking for a safe house. I've been exceptionally lucky. They told me: 'Heniek, you don't look like a Jew at all.' I also spoke correct Polish, more or less, I mean I had the right accent, because as for the grammar a peasant wouldn't notice. I could quite safely assume I wouldn't be recognized by anyone. Plus I was a soldier, I was brave. That's why I took risks, I probably wouldn't otherwise, just like many others. You can't imagine, you could be killed any time, and not just you, but also the person harboring you.

Interview details

Interviewee: Henryk Prajs
Interviewer:
Aleksandra Bankowska
Month of interview:
January
Year of interview:
2005
Gora Kalwaria, Poland

KEY PERSON

Henryk Prajs
Year of birth:
1916
City of birth:
Gora Kalwaria
Country name at time of birth:
Germany
Occupation
before WW II:
Tailor
after WW II:
Tailor

Additional Information

Also interviewed by:
USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education
Date of interview:
1997

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