Tadeusz Pankiewicz was a pharmacist in Krakow in the fateful year of 1939 when the Nazis arrived. Unfortunately for him, the family shop, Under the Eagle, was located in the section of the city that the Nazis designated as the Jewish Ghetto in 1941. All Gentile businesses were ordered to relocate to non-Jewish sectors of the city, but somehow Tadeusz was able to convince the Nazis to allow him to stay. He promptly became friendly with the German officers as he and his employees, who were able to pass in and out of the ghetto, were the only Gentiles amidst 15,000 imprisoned Jews. Tadeusz seemed harmless enough, but he had cared for people before the Nazis arrived and had every intention of continuing to do so. He helped in ways great and small – covertly supplying desperately needed medications and medical care to the ghetto population and even providing hair dye to help disguise those trying to escape. As Gestapo raids increased, he warned of upcoming Aktions, provided tranquilizers to keep hidden children quiet, and offered his shop as a meeting and hiding place. The Krakow Ghetto was finally liquidated in March of 1943 and its residents sent to Belzec and Auschwitz. Kraków was Judenfrei (free of Jews)… well almost. In a secret vault in the basement of a pharmacy called Under the Eagle, owned by a young man by the name of Tadeusz Pankiewicz, lay Torah Scrolls and religious objects sacred to the Jews of Krakow, safely hidden for another day.
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