Franciszek Augustyniak - Instytut Pileckiego
Franciszek Augustyniak (~1914–1943)
Commemorated in 2020.
Franciszek Augustyniak was commemorated by Pilecki Institute on 4 June 2020 in Sterdyń.
He lived with his wife Regina, their ten-year-old son Jan and his in-laws Jan and Emilia Siwiński at the Paulinów estate located near a brickyard. With the occupation, the Germans seized the estate that had belonged to Count Franciszek Krasiński before the war. On the night of 23 February 1943, the Germans began a sweeping campaign to wipe out both the Jews hiding in the nearby forests (refugees from the ghetto in Sterdyń that was liquidated in autumn 1942) and the people who helped them by giving them food and temporary lodgings. They were also on the lookout for escaped Red Army soldiers. A key role in this operation was played by an individual claiming to be a Jew from Warsaw who had allegedly escaped a transport to the Treblinka death camp. The eye witnesses themselves confirmed that this person was a Jew, and that he had previously come to their homes asking for food, sometimes in the company of Szlojme Ruskielenke, whom the local residents knew. The man was later revealed to be a German spy. Whenever he received any aid or witnessed any Jews being helped, he wrote down the names of those involved and informed the German authorities. He was also present during the search of the Augustyniak home, where the Germans were looking for weapons and “underground newspapers”. They also ordered the owner of the house to tell them where the Russian soldiers were hiding. When he refused to confess or to take them to the hiding place, the Germans shot him in front of the house.