New Trees for the Righteous in Warsaw’s Muranów District
On Tuesday, 26th September 2023, the Garden of the Righteous Foundation will plant trees and unveil stones honouring this year’s Righteous. The citations will be read by:
- for Gareth Jones – Francesco M. Cataluccio (GARIWO Foundation);
- for Sergei Adamowicz Kowalow – Zbigniew Gluza (President, KARTA Centre);
- for Alfreda Markowska – Konstanty Gebert (journalist).
The ceremony will take place, at 1:30 p.m., at the Warsaw Garden of the Righteous on Gen. Jan Jura-Gorzechowski Square, near the POLIN Museum.
What Does the title Righteous Mean?
The definition of Righteous is universal and serves to honour all those people who, in Europe and beyond, saved human lives or defended human dignity – in totalitarian regimes, during genocides, mass murders and crimes against humanity, committed during the 20th and 21st centuries.
This is a broader concept than that of “Righteous Among the Nations” bestowed by the Yad Vashem Institute – an honorary award, given by the State of Israel to non-Jews, for aiding Jews during World War II.
Selections are made by the Garden of the Righteous Foundation Committee from amongst candidates submitted for consideration. The Committee comprises outstanding people from the worlds of education and culture, including the Director of the POLIN Museum, as well as representatives of non-governmental organisations.
The names of those to be honoured are announced each year, on 6th March, on the European Day of Righteous Remembrance.
This Year’s Righteous
In 2023, Sergei Adamowicz Kowalow, Gareth Jones and Alfreda Markowska will join the group of Righteous.
Below are their brief biographies:
- Sergei Adamowicz Kowalow (1930-2021), biophysicist, dissident, political prisoner, defender of human rights and co-creator of “Memorial”. According to KARTA Centre President, Zbigniew Gluza, Kowalow was “one of the bravest defenders of human rights in the post-war Soviet Union. Throughout his life, he proved steadfast against the totalitarian system. Following the collapse of the USSR, as chairman of the Russian Federation President's Human Rights Commission and as the State Duma’s Ombudsman in 1994-1996, he was totally dedicated to his mission. He personally defended Grozny and Chechnya, which were being destroyed by his own state. At that time, we followed Kowalow’s determined activity, seeing in him the model of a Righteous. His importance can be even easier to understand, if we view the analogous current Russian action against Ukraine. Today, Russia misses Kowalow”.
- Gareth Jones (1905-1935), Welsh journalist, whose extraordinary reports from Ukraine, during the Holodomor [kk:death by hunger], revealed to the world the extent of the Soviet genocide and exposed the lies of Walter Duranty, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting from Moscow for the “New York Times”, in which he writes about the “noble principles of collectivisation". Jones firmly repelled these attacks. “This is my third time in Ukraine”, he wrote. “In know its language and history well. With my own eyes, I saw what was happening. I slept in the houses of starving peasants. The acute censorship, which we are subjected to as journalists, does not permit us to tell the truth. The press is forced to use terms that downplay the extent of the Ukrainmian famine. We can talk about malnutrition, about the lack of food – but nothing more”. One intellectual, who believed Jones’ words, was George Orwell, who admitted that his Animal Farm was inspired by the dramatic information which Jones had exposed. Expelled from the Soviet Union, Jones set off on a journey to the Far East. There, he was kidnapped and murdered in mysterious circumstances. It is suspected that his murder was planned by the NKVD, as revenge for embarrassing the Soviet regime.
- Alfreda Markowska (1926–2021), Polish Roma from the Kresy, who saved fifty Jewish and Roma children during World War II. In 1941, she was the only one to survive the German massacre of over eighty people from her camp – she was saved by a local peasant woman. She was employed by the Germans to remove dead bodies from transports to Auschwitz and Bełżec, which stopped in Rozwadów, where she lived. She also removed children, who were still alive and, with her own children, put them into hiding places. She raised several of them. When the Red Army was approaching in 1944, Markowska set up her own camp and, with it, fled to the West, saving several lost German children along the way.
The Garden of the Righteous Foundation
The Garden of the Righteous Foundation aims to honour and promote the attitudes of the Righteous who, in Europe and beyond, saved human lives or defended human dignity – under Nazism and Communism, genocides, mass murders and crimes against humanity, committed during the 20th century, and which are still happening today.
The Garden of the Righteous Foundation operates in the field of human rights. It strives to democratise the world by supporting and conducting educational activities which serve to build an atmosphere of tolerance, trust and respect towards people of different nationalities, genders, minorities, cultures and religions.
The Foundation tends to the Garden of the Righteous in Warsaw, which was established in 2014 at the initiative of the History Meeting House and the GARIWO Foundation, with the support of the Republic of Poland Prime Minister, Tadeusz Mazowiecki. The Garden’s location is symbolically significant for Warsaw but, above all, for the history of Europe and the world – it is located within the area which once was the Warsaw ghetto.
To date, the Warsaw Garden of the Righteous has honoured:
Władysław Bartoszewski, Hrant Dink, Marek Edelman, Natalia Gorbaniewska, Magdalena Grodzka-Gużkowska, Petro Hryhorenko, Julia Ilisińska, Jan Jelinek, Jan Karski, Roberto Kozak, Rafał Lemkin, Ewelina Lipko-Lipczyńska, Antonia Locatelli, Nelson Mandela, Hasan Mazhar, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, Karol Modzelewski, Stanisław Pietrow, Witold Armin Wegner, Antonina and Aleksander Wyrzykowski, Liu Xiaobo, Jan Zieja, Adalbert Wojciech Zink, Mosze Bejski, Bronisław Geremek, Wilhelm Hosenfeld, Antonina and Jan Żabiński.
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Organiser: The Garden of the Righteous Foundation
Anna Ziarkowska – Foundation press officer
e-mail: [email protected]
telephone: (+48) 604 430 72
Partners: History Meeting House, the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation, the GARIWO Foundation, the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Chopin BB & SALON, Recipe for Muranów, Dom Kultury Śródmieście, Wola District Authority of Warsaw.