Wolinski Henryk

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Story of Rescue - Wolinski Henryk

Before the War, Henryk Woliński was a lawyer employed in the Prosecutor General’s office. He was also a member of the Polish Democratic Party. From the 1st February 1942, under the pseudonym of “Wacław”, he headed the Jewish Department of the Home Army (Armia Krajowa - AK) High Command’s Bureau of Information and Propaganda. At first, this section collected information about the situation of Jews in occupied Poland, which served as the basis for Polish underground reports sent to the Government-in-Exile in London.

In the autumn of 1942, he was the AK’s intermediary in contact with the Warsaw Ghetto underground, which led to the establishment of the Jewish Fighting Organisation (Żydowska Organizacja Bojowa - ŻOB). He co-ordinated the handing over of weapons to the Jews and was active in the establishment of the Council to Aid Jews (Rada Pomocy Żydom – “Żegota”.

In line with the “AK’s democratic current”, he concerned himself with one of “Żegota’s” cells – in 1944, he had 280 charges on the register. He was the indefatigable spokesman for the Jews within the Home Army’s General Headquarters, striving in vain to overcome their isolation. His service, especially in the run-up to the establishment of the Warsaw Ghetto, cannot be over-estimated.

After the War, he settled in Katowice. In 1968, he was harassed for his refusal to be involved in a propaganda campaign which extolled the help given by Poles to Jews. In 1974, he was honoured with the title of “Righteous Among the Nations”.

He was one of the heroes of Hanna Krall’s documentary Zdążyć przed Panem Bogiem (To Outwit God). He died in oblivion. It was only in April 2008 that he was honoured, by President Lech Kaczyński, with the Commander’s Cross of the Order of the Revival of Poland.

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