Jozef Mironiuk

Hero defined means, "A man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities." This is how many people see Jozef Mironiuk to be. Mr Jozef Mironiuk risked his life to hide Jews during the Holocaust. Jozef Mironiuk was a Polish man who lived on the outskirts of Krakow, he was aged 19 at the time of his heroic act of saving the Jews. Jozef was the eldest of eight brothers and sisters. Mr Mironiuk risked the death penalty of himself and his family to hide three Jewish men on their farm for 18 months straight. He created a secret room and an underground ‘bunker’ to keep them from the concentration camps. Jozef and his family were constantly fearful for their lives, he said "I was constantly afraid. I slept in my shoes and clothes, ready to escape if the Germans came to arrest me. In such times there are a lot of heroes. But I do not consider myself a hero.

The Holocaust claimed the lives of approximately 6 million Jewish men, women and children… 1.6 million were Jewish children. Of these, only about 11 percent of Jews survived the war, most left their homes to seek refuge in other countries. A majority of parents chose to hide their children in order to save them. If you were caught hiding a Jew during the Holocaust there would be a number of consequences, none of them being good… Usually if you were caught, you would be killed onsite along with the Jews or even publicly executed to serve as a warning to others not to also try and help Jews avoid the concentration camps.

Jozef Mironiuk speaking at Manchester Jewish Museum, where he was launching the Polish Heroes exhibition, said: "It's much harder to find a friend during war so have friends now then they will help you. It was not bread or milk these people needed, it was survival."Jozef became the head of his family after his father was beaten to death by Nazis, is when he gave shelter to the three Jewish men who escaped from a slave labour camp. They stayed in hiding until 1944 (when the front line moved).
The three men survived and finally moved to the US.

Mr Jozef Mironiuk told his story of his experience during the Holocaust to people from around the world until the day he died in 2009. For this act of bravery during The Holocaust Jozef and his family were recipients of the ‘Righteous Among Nations’ award.
"The message is simple," he said. "Do whatever you can to make sure there's peace.