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Monday, November 21, 2005

A Righteous Gentile

I received an email from my cousin in Israel today. She was glad to inform me that Mrs. Stanislawa Cicha, the Polish woman who had saved both our mothers' lives, will be recognized as a Righteous Gentile by Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.

It's unbelievable how much courage this woman had. In a world where even the accusation of hiding Jews could be a death sentence, she went out and found food for over a dozen people on a daily basis for over a year. I wonder how many of us would do that?

If it weren't for her, I wouldn't be here.

In related news, apparently the Museum in Jaworzno, Poland, has an exhibit about the Jews of Jaworzno (they were wiped out during the Holocaust), and there is a picture of my Great-Grandfather's store on display:



I am attempting to contact the museum for more information. Another view of the building is here.

13 comments:

Z said...

Good for her :) That is really heartwarming. I am sure it boggles the mind the contribution she made to your family. Mazel tov!

Stacey said...

How wonderful that this selfless woman is getting this huge and very much deserved honor.

MC Aryeh said...

Wonderful that they are recognizing such a brave woman, but why do they always wait until the person has passed away? Did your mother ever see this woman again after the war?

What kind of store did your great-grandfather have?

Jack's Shack said...

That is very nice for her to be recognized.

PsychoToddler said...

If you follow some of the links you can read my Mother's experiences there during the war. My greatgrandfather owned a printing company, and the bottom floor was where the printing presses were. The upper floor was apartments. OF course, the Poles took the place over during the war and didn't give it back.

My mother corresponded with Mrs. Cicha after the war, but I don't think she ever saw her again.

Ezzie said...

Wow. Wonderful news.

Anne said...

Good news indeed.

Kiwi the Geek said...

In college, I took a valuable course titled, "Nazis and Germany". I did my final project on the Righteous Gentiles. Boy, I wish I could find that paper...

The prof is retired now, but in his huge lectures (I was in a small seminar group) he used to come one day each semester as an SS drone. He would rant about the Nazi beliefs for an hour, then ask the question, "would you have been immune?" Very sobering. Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to observe the performance.

Sometime there was an elderly lady auditing the course, and one day he invited her to help prove a point. Midway through his lecture, he suddenly began raging about useless eaters, or some such, and bodily evicted her from the lecture hall. Then he returned to the podium and continued speaking. Several minutes later, he interrupted again to ask the shocked class why nobody had spoken up for the woman. Peer pressure is powerful...

Pragmatician said...

She deserves it, but is she still alive? Does it come with some sort of compensation?

Nati said...

My grandfather, Baruch Melman (mother's maiden name Gerstner) was from the same town . . he was a tailor before the war, and survived along with a couple of his siblings. I have only heard it pronounced, never seen it in print. Very interesting to know that the museum there is remembering its Jews.

PsychoToddler said...

Nati:

My mother has some interesting recollections of the town, in particular the reception she received after the war. You may find interesting reading at Rose's Story (on the blogroll to the right or follow the link in the post).

Anonymous said...

Wow--that's a great honor. I've been reading a lot of books about righteous gentiles for a paper I'm writing. There's a good Holocaust rescuers bibliography at www.hearthasreasons.com

weber said...

Thanks for that reference, whoever you are. I just found a great book there: "Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed" by Philip Hallie. Goes into how this inspired minister in a little town in France mobilized the whole little town to oppose the Nazis and hide a bunch of Jewish kids. Very cool. BTW, Kiwi--that sounds like an amazing professor. Where was that???