Zygmunt Drgas - Instytut Pileckiego
Zygmunt Drgas (1920–1943)
Commemorated in 2020.
Zygmunt Drgas was commemorated by Pilecki Institute on 4 June 2020 in Sterdyń.
He most likely lived in the village of Mursy in the commune of Sterdyń. He had been resettled from the Greater Poland province, which earned him the nickname “Poznaniak”. 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. On the fateful night of 24 February 1943, Zygmunt was arrested by the German soldiers on the road to the estate in Paulinów. He must have been one of the people on the list of those who had helped the Jews or the escaped Red Army soldiers. After his arrest, he and several other Polish men were taken to the nearby distillery. Next, they were all taken to the forest, where they were shot.