Julian Bilecki
Born in 1928 Julian Bilecki was a young teenage boy living on his family farm near the ghetto at the time of the Holocaust in Poland. He aided his family in the hiding of 23 Jews in an underground bunker.

In June of 1948 Julian’s family heard a knock at their door and found many of their Jewish friends seeking refuge with them from the Nazis. They had escaped from the ghetto and sought after the Bilecki family for help. They took them in and hid them built by Julian in a bunker in a cave in the woods which they camouflaged with leaves and branches. However this bunker was discovered by passers-by and the Bilecki family was forced to find a new site for a second bunker. This bunker was built very close to their home but the snow covered ground would leave footprints so Julian would jump from tree to tree in order to distribute the rations. Julian showed the Jews where to hide, helped them move undetected and bought them food which mostly consisted of potatoes, beans and corn meal and clothes regularly for a year. Once a week he would sing hymns to the refugees and share news with them. Julian along with the help of his family was able to provide the Jews with the necessities required to survive.

During the holocaust in Poland there were severe consequences for helping a Jew. Had Julian been caught he would have faced certain death. He would have been executed either by public hanging or being sent to a concentration camp or shot.

After the conclusion of the war Julian and his family remained in Poland. He and his family were still poor and many of the Jewish citizens they had aided sent them packages of food and clothing. Nobody discovered that Julian was helping Jews and in 1998 at the age of 70 he was flown in from Ukraine (Poland) by the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous. At the airport Julian was reunited with five of the survivors he had aided. He was greeted with tears and applause for his efforts and life risking acts of courage. He later died in March 2007.