Welwel Wainkranc

Welwel Wainkranc

Born: 1918

Kaluszyn, Poland

The third of five brothers, Welwel was born to Jewish parents who lived 35 miles east of Warsaw in the small predominantly Jewish town of Kaluszyn. His father was a cattle merchant who purchased cows and sold the meat to butchers in the Warsaw region. Welwel spent most of his free time with a group of Jewish friends who lived in his neighborhood and who attended the same public school.

1933-39: Every summer evening Abram Kisielnicki, some other pals, and I like to stroll along Kaluszyn's main thoroughfare, Warsaw Street. On Saturday nights it gets so crowded that we can't walk without bumping into one another. Occasionally a group of non-Jewish kids makes antisemitic comments, but generally, we all try to get along. We have to, because this is where we live.

1940-42: The Germans have occupied Kaluszyn. Acting under German orders, the town mayor has chosen 10 men, including my good friend Abram's father, to be on the Jewish council. Mr. Kisielnicki, in turn, has chosen Abram and me to be on the Jewish police force. Our job is to keep order in the Jewish ghetto and to make sure that everyone keeps the curfew hours.

On December 9, 1942, Welwel was shot to death by a Polish policeman as he tried to escape the second deportation from the Kaluszyn ghetto. Welwel was 24 years old.