Who saves the world ...
The Righteous Among the Nations is the highest Israeli civilian honor given by the Yad Vashem Institute in Jerusalem to those who saved the Jews during World War II. It is awarded to those who were not Jewish themselves, provided help selflessly and risked their life or freedom to do so. Another condition is that the rescued person survived the war.
A person who is recognized as Righteous is awarded a medal in their name, a certificate of honor, and the privilege of having the name added to those on the Wall of Honor in the Garden of the Righteous at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. According to the latest data (February 2016), the medal was given to 26,199 people, with 6620 Poles being the most numerous group. It is worth remembering that helping Jews was punishable by death only in the territory of Poland. Anyone who tried to help, was at a risk of losing their life. It is impossible to compile a list of all those who died helping and saving Jews, but here are some names of people from Radom who did just that. In January 1943, Marcin Kowalik, a warehouse manager of one of the factories in Radom, received a letter from a Jew with the intention of passing it on to the addressee. He was captured and soon deported to Auschwitz, where he was killed. Anna Michałowska, a dressmaker from Radom and her sister Maria Gregorczyk, were sent to Auschwitz in the March 1943 transport for helping Jews. Maria Michalczyk was transported a the concentration camp in January 1943 for helping a Jew to escape the ghetto. Helena Niwińska and Bolesław Gołosz were both arrested for hiding fugitives from the ghettos.
Why did Poles rush to help despite the threat of losing their lives? The answer can be found in the poem by of one of the Righteous, Władysław Misiuna, written after he received his medal.
"The words from Talmud on the medal make me pause :
"Who saved one life,
saved the whole world ... "
The words are beautiful, but they do not soothe the pain
Although the world did not collapse and still exists
Despite millions of Jews lost for ever
I know Jewish martyrdom better than anyone else
I suffered with them during Shoah
And I also felt their torment like a Jew
Rescuing them, I was saving my own humanity
And I feared less for my life than
I feared the shame of losing humanity.”
Photo above: Medal Righteous Among the Nations
These are the Righteous who saved the Jews from Radom during the war
During the war dr Jerzy Borysowicz was the head of a psychiatric hospital, which was located in what is now St.Wacław. He helped to hide the Jews, not only from Radom, but also Mordechai Anielewicz, the future commander of the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto.
Ausweis dra Borysewicza z czasów II wojny światowej i pracy w szpitalu
Doctor Zbigniew Gorecki came to Radom from Poznań during the war. He brought food and fuel to the ghetto. When the ghetto was liquidated he rescued an orphaned daughter of dr Senderowicz. Gorecki looked after her until the end of the war.
Marianna Kopyt (nee Piechota) rescued from the ghetto Baruch Zyberszlek, his daughter Ilana and his sister-in-law's daughter. They all survived the war. The saved child was Charles Silver, currently a doctor in the US.
Władysław Misiuna lived near the small ghetto. He and his brothers helped Shmul Pinkus’ family. Unfortunately, during the liquidation of the ghetto, the whole Pinkus family was murdered. Then, while working in the Arms Factory, Misiuna helped the Jews from the labor camps in Szwarlikowska and Szkolna Streets who were employed there. He provided food as well as medicines, and provided spiritual suport by writing poems for them.
Caught in the act of helping, he was sent to a concentration camp. Only one of his ‘charges’, Zofia Stupnicka survived the war.
Henryka Obermiller was in Radom during the war, after the Germans appointed her husband manager of their factory in Radom. Here, she met Adam and Gienia Goldberg, whom she managed to get out of the ghetto just before it was liquidated. All in all, thanks to her efforts, five Jews survived the war.
Wanda Pawłowska and her father lived near the ghetto in Glinice. They helped Bernard Ajdels, a fugitive from the ghetto. Unfortunately, after they were denounced, the Gestapo arrested both Pawłowska and Ajdels. She escaped from prison, he went to Auschwitz. They survived the war and got married.
Stanisław Skoczylas-Śliwińska worked in the Arms Factory. She helped the Jewish women working there. She helped one of them to escape the factory
The Uliasz family - Jan and Sabina and their daughter Maria Jolanta. In the summer of 1942, Stanisław Karp approached them in the street, said he was Jewish and asked for help. "They were religious people and hated the Germans," he recalled years later.