Zinaida Giergiel z d. Radczuk (1912—1989) - Instytut Pileckiego

The medal / Recipients

Zinaida Giergiel z d. Radczuk (1912—1989)

Awarded in 2019.

Zinaida Giergiel suspected that after being chased out of their homes and suffering from hunger, the Poles would attempt to return to their farms. She was able to warn polish family that a unit of the OUN/UPA was waiting for them in the house.

From the beginning of the Second World War, after the USSR and Nazi Germany entered the Polish territories, occupation policies of both invaders were aimed at dividing and antagonizing the citizens of the Second Polish Republic, especially in the Eastern Borderlands, where Poles, Ukrainians, Belarussians and Jews lived side by side. In the summer of 1943 in Volhynia, a systematic ethnic cleansing operation involving mass murder of Poles was carried out by the units of the OUN/UPA with the help of the local Ukrainian population. In the village of Marcelówka near Volodymyr-Volynskyi, a longstanding neighborly bond between the Polish Zaremba family and the Ukrainian Giergiel family prevailed over the deliberately fostered antagonisms dividing the nations.


Having learned about a planned attack by Ukrainian nationalists on Poles, Anatolyi Giergiel warned his friend, Władysław Zaremba, who then managed to alert the rest of the village. As a result, the Zaremba family and other Polish inhabitants of Marcelówka escaped violent death.

Marcelówka, 1942. Standing from the left: Albinka Zaremba, Władysław Zaremba, Stanisław Zaremba. Sitting from the left: Rozalia Zaremba, Franciszka Surma née Zaremba, her children: Marian Surma, Krystyna Surma / Tokarczuk family private collection

Zinaida Giergiel suspected that after being chased out of their homes and suffering from hunger, the Poles would attempt to return to their farms. For several days she kept watch in case their neighbors appeared. She was able to warn Rozalia Zaremba that a unit of the OUN/UPA was waiting for them in the house, and consequently saved the Zaremba family from death for the second time.


fot. Zinaida Giergiel / Tamara Handyi’s family collection

See also

  • Józsefné Margit Károlyi

    awarded

    Józsefné Margit Károlyi
    (1892–1964)

  • gen. Lóránd Utassy (1897— 1974)

    awarded

    gen. Lóránd Utassy (1897— 1974)

    Utassy denied the Gestapo access to the internment camps and refused to surrender Polish soldiers. He also participated in talks with the Red Cross, aiming to establish it as the representation of Poles who had found themselves on Hungarian soil.

  • Ecaterina Olimpia Caradja (1893–1993)

    awarded

    Ecaterina Olimpia Caradja (1893–1993)

    “Kurier Polski” published in Bucharest on 3 December 1939 was full of alarming headlines: “The Soviet attack on Finland”, “Executions and deportations.” One of them gave people hope: “Under the care of Princess Caragea. Home for mothers and chilldren.”