POLIN Museum Hosts Ceremony Honouring New Righteous

Mateusz Szczepaniak, 16 November 2016
A ceremony honouring more Righteous Among the Nations was held at the POLIN Museum on Wednesday 9th September 2015. Six new Righteous were honoured posthumously. Their medals and certificates were presented to the descendants by the Israeli Ambassador Anna Azari.

Those honoured  posthumously included Helena and Szymon Całka, Waleria and Stanisław Jakubowski, Józefa and Franciszek Kosiński, Zofia and Aleksander Schiele, Teodora and Ireneusz Studziński and Wacław Zatorski. 

Helena and Szymon Całkowa lived in Parysowa near Garwolina. They hid three Jews - two residents of Parysowa, as well as 12 year old Józef Czarny. On 2nd August 1943, the boy escaped from the Treblinka death camp during the prisoner rebellion. As Józef Czarny recalls years later, "I told them I was a Jews and had escaped from Treblinka. I came from a religious family and couldn't tell a lie. I was given potatoes and some warm milk. I sat there eating and crying, eating and crying". On the basis of his testimony, the Yad Vashem Institute honoured the Całka family with the title of Righteous. The Całkowa's medal and certificate were accepted by their son, Zdzisław Całka.

Waleria and Stanisław Jakubowski lived in the village of Skotniki Dolne in the Kielce area, where they ran a farm. During the Holocaust, they sheltered escapees from the ghetto in nearby Wiślica. They hid them for over 26 months, creating a hiding place for them under the barn. The citation honouring the Jakubowski family was read out by Jeanne Zucker, daughter of one of those rescued. Their medal and certificate were accepted by their grandson, Józef Jakubowski.

Józefa and Franciszek Kosiński, from the village of Tołwin near Siemiatycz, saved a little Jewish girl, Ryfka Gruskin, who had jumped off a train heading to Treblinka. At that time, the Kosiński couple already had five children of their own and were well aware of the potential great danger. However, without hestitating, they agreed to help. From time to time, Ryfka's brother and uncle would visit her. They were hiding in the forest. A search suddenly took place during one of those visits. For almost an hour, the military police searched the farm, but failed to find the hiding place. The Kosiński couple, suspecting that they had been betrayed by someone from the village, warned the  village administrator that they would let themselves be intimidated. Their medal and certificate was accepted by their son, Edmund Kosiński.

Zofia and Aleksander Schiele, a well-known family of brewers (owners of the Haberbusch and Schiele United Warsaw Brewery), sheltered, among others, Stefania Liliental and her small son Witold, in their home in Konstantin. Despite his German background, Aleksander Schiele refused to register as a Volksdeutsche.  He served in the Home Army (AK), financially helped those in need (e.g. the emigration of Julian Tuwim, provided false papers to Home Army soldiers and to Jews, ransomed prisoners, organised supplies for the Warsaw Ghetto and aided its inhabitants to escape to "the Aryan side". Their medal and certificate were accepted by Robert Azembski their grandson.

Teodora and Ireneusz Studziński lived in the Praga district of Warsaw. During the Holocaust, they rescued five Jewish escapees from the ghetto. At that time, they were a young couple with a newborn child. The Rozenfarb and Rozenblum families hid in the attic of their tenement, and in order to dispel any suspicions from the other residents, they put a goat in the attic also. Thus, their pretext for frequent trips to the attic was to get milk for their baby. The citation honouring them was read out by the daughter and granddaughter of those rescued Elaine Labendz and Susan Rostan. The medal and certificate were accepted by their daughter Janina Sokołowska.

Wacław Zatorski, a worker at the Warsaw Gasworks, helped Abram Lipszyc to survive. Lipszyc lived with Zatorski, his wife and two children in the Warsaw suburb of Wola. The story of rescue was read out by Nelly Faifermacher. His medal and certificate was accepted by his daughter, Krystyna Karwat.