Sewing and Safety in the Krakow Ghetto

Stand for Israel  |  February 20, 2023

Laborers at Julius Madritsch sewing factory during the Holocaust
(Photo: Yad Vashem)

We all know the story of Oskar Schindler, the German whose actions saved Jews during the Holocaust and were memorialized in Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning movie, Schindler’s List. But today we’ll learn the story of three Christians in Poland who also saved Jewish lives thanks to a similar plan to employ Jews as workers sewing in textile factories.

When the Nazis overran Poland, a gentile named Julius Madritsch took over two textile factories that had been stolen by the Germans from their original owner. Throughout the course of the war – and the Holocaust – the factories sheltered over 2,000 Jews who worked there.

Madritsch received help from Raimund Titsch, the factory manager, in employing Jews who weren’t even skilled for the needed sewing jobs, and giving them extra rations. Madritsch even opened more factories, allowing him to save more Jewish lives. Madritsch fought back at the occupying Nazis, not allowing them to kill the Jews he employed, and gaining better working conditions for them, as well.

In 1942, the Nazis cracked down on the Krakow Ghetto, no longer allowing Jews to leave to work at Madritsch’s factories. Instead, Madritsch opened a factory in the camp, continuing to help the Jews there.

Oswald Bosko, a high-ranking German policeman overseeing the ghetto, also helped Madritsch. When Bosko was supposed to keep count of any Jews as they came or went to work at the factory, he simply overlooked the many who took the chance to escape. Because of his heroic actions to save Jewish lives, Bosko was executed by the Nazis in 1944.

That same year, as the Nazis liquidated the Krakow Ghetto, Julius Madritsch was able to sneak 100 of his Jewish employees out to one of Oskar Schindler’s factories, saving their lives.

An old Julius Madritsch sewing machine up against a white wall.
Sewing machine owned by Holocaust survivor, Adolf Goldstein. (Photo: Yad Vashem)

This sewing machine was used in Julius Madritsch’s factory by a Jewish laborer named Adolf Goldstein. Adolf’s wife and children were murdered by the Nazis when the Krakow Ghetto was liquidated. After surviving the war, Adolf made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) and remarried. And there, in the Holy Land, he and his wife adopted a child whose own parents were murdered in the same liquidation.

Adolf Goldstein was just one of many Jews saved by Julius Madritsch, Raimund Titsch, and Oswald Bosko, all of whom were among the first named Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem in 1964.

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