Wincenty Dobkowski

Right: Wincenty Dobkowski and Itzik (Jan) Lewin, Givatayim, 2006

In the autumn of 1942, Israel Lewin, his wife, Feiga, their son, Jan, and their daughter, Teresa, fled from the town of Wizna in the Bialystok district. After wandering through fields and forests, the four refugees reached the nearby village of Zanklewo, where they made their way to the home of the Dobkowskis, acquaintances of theirs. 
The entire family – Boleslaw and Apolonia Dobkowski and their children, Mieczyslaw, Tadeusz Jan, and Wincenty – helped build two shelters in the farmyard for the refugees. The Dobkowskis received no payment for their heroic act, which sprang entirely from selfless, humanitarian principles.

One day in the autumn of 1943, German policemen arrested Jan Lewin while he was helping the Dobkowskis on the farm. Jan was imprisoned, but even before his captors realized he was Jewish he was freed from prison in a daring rescue operation mounted by the Dobkowskis. The Lewins remained in their hiding place until the area was liberated in July 1944. After the war, they immigrated to Israel, after first signing over the deeds to their home in Wizna to the Dobkowskis as a token of their gratitude. After the war, when neighbors got wind of what the Dobkowskis had done, a gang of anti-Semitic thugs raided their farm, robbed them of their possessions, and beat Boleslaw until he lost consciousness.

On October 31, 1991, Yad Vashem recognized Apolonia Dobkowska, her husband, Boleslaw Dobkowski, and their children, Mieczyslaw, Tadeusz Jan, and Wincenty, as Righteous Among the Nations.

(Excerpt from”The Encyclopedia of the Righteous Among the Nations”, Poland, Yad Vashem Publications, p. 175)