During the German occupation of Poland, the Leszczyński family from the small village of Bocianka, near Siemiatycze, became quiet heroes. Risking their own lives, they provided shelter for thirteen Jews. From November 1942 to July 1944, they shared with them the most valuable things – safety and food.
Amidst the people who found asylum at the LeszczyNskis’ home were the Feldmans, including Beniamin, a respected miller who managed to escape from the ghetto with his family. They were joined by the Fuchs – the butcher Beniamin and his daughter; as well as: The Grodzickis – tanner Szlomo Mordka and his family, who, after leaving their hiding place, decided to seek shelter at old acquaintancesä place.
Bolesław Leszczyński and his wife Anna ran a farm and practised veterinary medicine. They had three sons: Franciszek, Józef and the youngest, Stanisław. They took great care in hiding their guests. It is worth mentioning that in the German-occupied Polish territories there was a law in force that provided for the death penalty for helping Jews. In no other occupied territories did the Germans introduce such a law.
The Feldmans and Fuchs initially found shelter in a potato mound and the Grodzickis in an upstairs barn, where communication took place in whispers and food was delivered in a bucket on a string. When the hay supplies ran out, dug-outs in the nearby forest became the new shelter.
Life in hiding proved to be fraught with danger. One particularly dramatic moment occurred when German soldiers almost discovered the hiding place during a hunt. On another occasion, two Poles, blackmailing and beating Benjamin Fuchs, tried to force information about alleged jewellery he had hidden, which led to his death.
After the defeat of Germany, the Grodzickis decided to emigrate. A similar fate awaited the Feldmans, who eventually found a new home in Palestine.
Despite the years, the Leszczynski family has remained in the hearts of those they helped. On 18 November 1997, the Yad Vashem Institute awarded the Leszczyńskis the title of Righteous Among the Nations, and in 2014. Stanisław Leszczyński became an Honorary Citizen of the State of Israel.