Antonina and Jan Żabiński Award Presented

Mateusz Szczepaniak / English translation: Andrew Rajcher, 19th September 2017
On 18th September 2017, the Warsaw ZOO, the site where Jews were hidden by Jan and Antonina Żabiński, saw the award bearing their names being presented for the second time. The award is presented to Poles who rescued Jews during the Holocaust and who, to this time, have not been given the title of Righteous Among the Nations. The families of those honoured also participated in the event.

The award was established last year by "From the Depths", an Israeli foundation which is known for, above all, saving Jewish graves through its "Matzeva" project. Those presented with the first Żabiński Award in 2016 were Natalia Borkiewicz, Ryszard Żabiński and the Skoczylas family.

This year, three Awards were presented. those honoured were the Franciscan Sisters of the Monastery of Mary who, during the Holocaust, saved many Jewish children and elderly. To date, four sisters from this order have been honoured with the title of Righteous Among the Nations.

The Żabiński Award was also presented to Natalia Jakoniuk who, with her family in Przeradz Mały (Mazovia Province), hid a Jewish family, and posthumously to Jan and Helena Kawczyński and their daughter Magdalena, who were murdered for helping Jews.

Those present at the event included the families of those honoured, representatives of state and local governments, non-government organisations and the Polish Episcopate, as well as rabbis from Poland and Israel.

The story of Jan and Antonina Żabiński, Righteous Among the Nations, is presented in our virtual exhibition "The House under a Wacky Star – Jews in hidding at the Warsaw ZOO", a part of POLIN Museum's "The Polish Righteous – Recalling Forgotten History" project. The exhibition has won the Sybilla Award as the "Museum Event of the Year".

Read the story of the Żabiński couple on our vitual exhibition