Henryk Prajs' false military certificate

Henryk Prajs' false military certificate
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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 one of my false papers, which I used during the war, when I was in hiding. My false name was Feliks Zoladek. This is a certificate which is written in, that Feliks Zoladek is able to military service. I got it from a friend of my neighbor, Mrs. Wasilewska, when I ran away from labor camp in Olszewo. 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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