Aleksander Schiele: A Righteous Man.

„As the granddaughter of Stefania Ewa Liliental from the Glaichgewicht family (1905–1983), who during the occupation used the name Adela Stasiewicz, I ask for Mr. Aleksader Schiele, who helped her during the time of the Nazi occupation, to be posthumously granted the honour of “Righteous Among the Nations.” Mr Aleksander Schiele (1880–1976), a Polish man with German roots (his Saxon ancestors settled in Poland at the end of the 18th century), showed great courage, repeatedly risking his life and the lives of those close to him, by saving and helping the needy, hiding Jews, helping them escape from the ghetto and providing them with financial assistance. Even at the worst times, when the Nazi plan for the extermination of all the Jews reached its bloody peak, and helping the Jews was punishable by death, Mr Schiele, a Lutheran, did not forget the values he held dear his whole life and helped not only individuals but their families as well. His conscience did not allow him to remain indifferent to the tragedy and suffering of people. One of the people he helped was my grandmother.” Dorota Liliental

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Photograph of Aleksander Schiele (1890–1976). Engineer, architect, industrialist, mountaineer

He was the son of Kazimierz Ludwik and Anna from Temlerow. The Schiele family came from Turyngia; they arrived in Poland at the turn of the 20th century. He worked in the family business at the United Warsaw Brewery Haberbusch and Schiele. During the occupation he refused to sign the volkslist, he was involved in the AK, (Home Army) and used the network of breweries for his underground activities, including providing supplies to the ghetto or training soldiers.

Aleksander Schiele with his wife and children in Warsaw.

“Schiele gave part of his salary to help others financially (among the surviving documents and thank yous is a letter of thanks from Julian Tuwim for the financial help given to him during his exile), he saved children from Zamojszczyzna (Zamość county), fictitiously employed members of the AK, gave false papers to his Jewish workers (which legalized their employment) and helped people get out of prisons and camps.

Julitta and Jerzy Schiele on vacation in Zakopane, in the 1930s

As a result of denunciations, both he and his young son Jerzy, just 19 years old, found themselves in Pawiak prison in October of 1943. Aleksander, beaten and near death, was bailed out. His twenty-year-old son Jerzy, despite the efforts of family and offers of ransom, was not rescued. He was executed on the orders of Himmler. It was to be a warning to all people of German origin who were not loyal to the Third Reich.

Photograph of Aleksander’s children from:

Testimony, JHI archives, fragment

“I met Aleksander Schiele during the most difficult time in my life, when my parents were in the ghetto and I was on the so-called Aryan side. I tried to do everything possible to come to the rescue of my parents and others. Contact with those in the ghetto became more difficult when the deportation and liquidation of the ghetto began. It was during that time that I learned of a man who worked at Haberbusch and Schiele, Aleksander Schiele, who was helping the Jews by taking advantage of the barred window in his office that overlooked the ghetto. [...] To 4 Ceglana Street, I brought food rolled up in clothing and Engineer Schiele passed the bundle through the window [...].” Alina Eiger

Testimony, JIH archives, fragment

“Writing these words today, I fulfill my promise to my brother, of blessed memory. My brother Alfred found himself in the ghetto and turned to A. Schiele for help, which he constantly received by communicating with him through his office window on Ceglana Street, which faced the ghetto. In 1943 during the liquidation of the ghetto, Engineer A. Schiele personally, with the help of the bribed guards, brought my brother from the so-called small ghetto on Prosta Street over to the Polish side on Twarda Street. Upon becoming free, my brother decided to join the partisans in the Kabacki woods. And again, A. Schiele helped him. [...] Before leaving Warsaw, Alfred sent a letter to Lwow, where I was staying at the time, in which he asked me, if I survived, to repay his debt of gratitude to this person who helped him in the toughest of times. [...]” Zygmunt Leisten

On the left: Twarda 25 Street., intersection of Twarda and Ciepła Street around 1940–42.
This piece of the street was in the ghetto.

Testimony, JHI archives, fragment:

“The vodka factory bordered on the ghetto. Engineer Schiele sent food to the Jews during the night, until the Germans realized and ordered the gates shut. The windows in Director Schiele’s office faced the Jewish quarter, through which he passed packages until the Germans ordered a thick screen to be installed over it. Even then Engineer Schiele found a solution and through a specially made hole in the vent continued to pass things over. [...] I can also say that he was selling shares in his company in order to have more resources to help the Jewish population. [...]” Herman Unger

Testimony, JHI archives, fragment

“[...] In 1942 during the summer, a Jewish woman escaped from the ghetto and ran into the backyard of the coffee factory near Ceglana Street and hid in a warehouse. Three Germans rushed in right behind, looking for the runaway. [...] Engineer Schiele assured the Germans that she was not on factory property, and in the evening he sent a car in which I brought the woman to Wronia Street. [...]” Herman Unger

Testimony, JHI archives, fragment

“I hereby declare that Eugenia Festensztat Konopacka, dentist, who from the beginning of the Nazi occupation lived with me in Warsaw at 131 Czerniakowska Street, because of blackmail and a visit from the Kriminal Polizei was forced to change her place of residence and found refuge in the house of Aleksander Schiele in Konstantine at 7 Aleje Skargi. [...] The home of Aleksander and his wife Sophie Schiele was, during the occupation, a meeting place for all those who believed in Polish liberation.” Edward Kozikowski.

Photo of Julitta Schiele and Witold Liliental.

“[...] Both my grandmother Stefania Liliental and my father, Witold Liliental, survived the war using Aryan papers; they went by the names Adele and Witold Stasiewicz. My father, who was born in January of 1939, could, because of his new documents, pass as the son of his Polish nanny, a woman who took care of him from even before the war. [...] More than once, his nanny heard that she was hiding a “Jewish brat.” Grandmother Stefania, working in secret as a teacher, had to be very careful moving around Warsaw, and was at times forced to suddenly move to another apartment or sleep the night in safe places. [...]. From the letter to the Yad Vashem Righteous Among the Nation Departmet, Dorota Liliental

Photograph of Stefania with Witold after the war.

„She often stayed the night,sometimes with her son accompanying her, at Aleksander Schiele’s villa “Ustronia” in Konstancin-Jeziorna, and between 1943 and 1944 she lived there for longer periods of time, while her son stayed with his Nannie in Włochy, a suburb of Warsaw in those days. It should be emphasized that this was the time of the uprising and then destruction of the ghetto — a time when the agents of the German police and their lackeys sought out hiding Jews with particular determination.” From the letter to the Yad Vashem Righteous Among the Nation Departmet, Dorota Liliental.

Many years after the War. Aleksander Schiele with his grandaughter, Ewa Krzywicka.

Photo courtesy of Robert Azembski.

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