The 2019 Righteous Gala

Redakcja / Editorial staff / English translation: Andrew Rajcher, 5th March 2019
During the gala held at POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews on 5th March to mark European Day of the Righteous, the Warsaw Garden of Righteous Committee announced the names of those honoured with the title of “2019 Righteous”. They are Russian historian and political activist Arsienij Borisowicz Roginski, Polish teacher Ewelina Lipko-Lipczyńska and Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg. In June, on Gen. Jan Jur-Gorzechowski Square in the Warsaw Garden of the Righteous, trees will be planted and memorial stones will be unveiled in their honour.

Today’s ceremony is a testimony to our memory and is an expression of our gratitude. We owe it to these people to remember. Each of them has a symbolic dimension, each of them, albeit in different circumstances and in different moments in history, fought for human dignity, justice, freedom and truth.

– Anna Ziarkowska, Secretary, Garden of the Righteous Committee.

The names of those honoured with the title of “2019 Righteous” was announced by te Chairman of the Warsaw Garden of the Righteous Committee, Zbigniew Gluza. Their biographies were present in a short film. Maja Komorowska spoke further regarding each of their lives. The gala also featured a concert by Janusz Olejniczak.

For us at POLIN Museum, especially important amongst those who, during war and terror, opposed evil, are the Righteous Among the Nations – the heroes of the Holocaust. We document and disseminate their stories. We believe that their stance, which we honour in Europe on 6th March, although rare, is nonetheless universal. For this reason, over the years, we have proudly supported the History Meeting House in promoting the concept of the Righteous and of their Warsaw Garden.

– Jolanta Gumula, Program Director, POLIN Museum.

The numerous guests at the Gala including Righteous Among the Nations, among them Anna Stupnicka-Bando, President of the Polish Association of the Righteous, the Israeli and French ambassadors, representatives from the United States, Great Britain, Norwegian and Slovenian embassies, representatives from the Warsaw City Council, and directors of cultural institutions.

The 2019 Righteous

The Righteous are those who, during times of war and crimes in the 20th and 21st centuries, defended human dignity. In their honour, 6th March has been designated European Day of the Righteous. That deciionw as taken by the European Parliament in May 2012 on the initiative of the Italian Committee of the World Gard of the Righteous (GARIWO). Since 2013, at the beginning of every March, the History Meeting House and POLIN Museum of the Historiy of Polish Jews holds a gala during which we remember people that human rights were and are more importrant that race, nationality or ideology.

This year, eleven names were submitted to the Garden of the Righteous Committee. Of those, the Committee nominated six, from which three would be selected to receive this year’s honour.

This year’s Righteous are:

  • Arsienij Borisowicz Roginski (1946–2017) – a Russian historian and political activist, chairman of the “Memorial Association”, a researcher into Stalinist crimes. From 2012, he also served as a member of the Auschwitz International Council. He researched the 20th century history of Russia, especially the 1920’s – including the liquidation of the Socialist Revolutionary Party and other repressions. For his activities, he was imprisoned in the USSR. With the help of Rogiński and that of his associates, it would neverhave been possible to document the persecution of Poles by the USSR authorities.
  • Ewelina Lipko-Lipczyńska (1913–2001) – a Polish language teacher from Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski. During the war, together with her father Jan Szymański (a teacher at the local senior high school and PPS activist) and her sisters, she saved forty Jews, for which, in 1966, she was honoured with the title of RIghteous Among the Nations and, in 1967, was granted Honorary Citizenship of the State of Israel. In 1968, she openly protested against the arrest of students, her students being among them, against the antisemitic campaign, the stripping Jews of their citizenship and their forced emigration from Poland. For this, she lost her job as a teach and was banned from ever teaching again in Poland. Read Ewelina Lipko-Lipczyńska’s story »
  • Raoul Wallenberg (1912–1947) – a Swedish diplomat who, from 1944, worked as Secretary of the Swedish Embassy in Budapest. Risking his own life, he exploited his position in order to save Hungarian Jews from being deported to Auschwitz. To achieve this, he issued almost ten thousand Swedish passports and did not oppose the counterfeiting of travel documents by a Jewish underground organisation. He hired around four hundred people at the Embassy, arranged for thousands of baptismal certificates and organised humanitarian aid. Raoul Wallenberg became a victi of Soviet communism. On 17th January 1945, he was imprisoned by the Soviets who wrongly accused him of spying for America and of collaborating with the Gestapo. Read more about him and about other diplomats who, during the War, extended help to Jews »

The Garden of the Righteous made its selection from submitted nominations.

The title of “Righteous” can only be awarded posthumouslye. Since 2014, on Gen. Jan Jur-Gorzechowski Square in the Warsaw Garden of the Righteous, the following have been honoured: Władysław Bartoszewski, Marek Edelman, Natalia Gorbaniewska, Magdalena Grodzka-Gużkowska, Petro Hryhorenko, Jan Jelinek, Jan Karski, Roberto Kozak, Rafał Lemkin, Antonia Locetelli, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, Nelson Mandela, Hasan Mazhar, Witold Pilecki, Anna Politkowska, Armin Wegner, ks. Jan Zieja and ks. Adalbert Wojciech Zink.


See our virtual exhibition “Righteous Without Borders” »

  

The stories of those honoured by the Warsaw Garden of the Righteous Committee are presented on our virtual exhibition, “Righteous Without Borders - Acting for the Sake of Dignity and Human Rights”, which was prepared by POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, together with the History Meeting House.

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Gala organisers: Organizatorzy gali: The History Meeting House, POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews
Partners: Polish History Museum, GARIWO.

For more information: www.sprawiedliwi.dsh.waw.pl