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Israel posthumously honours ten Poles saving Jews during WWII

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 13.08.2014 11:59
Ten Poles have been posthumously awarded Righteous among the Nations medals by Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Institute for helping save Jews during the Second World War.

The ceremony at Nożyk Synagogue in Warsaw was attended by Sara Peretz’s daughter, Nira Berry (left: photo - PAP / Marcin Obara

One of the Poles, Grzegorz Czyżyk, who served as a policeman in Chełm, eastern Poland, during the war in Nazi-occupied Poland, used his contacts to take Bela Peretz, serving a prison term for illegal ‘trading in flour’, out of jail.

He later offered shelter to her and her small daughter Sara in his farm buildings for two years.

The ceremony at the historic Nożyk Synagogue in Warsaw was attended by Sara Peretz’s daughter, Nira Berry.

She said that ever she was a little girl she heard her grandmother and mother calling Grzegorz Czyżyk “a great hero”.

“‘My mother was trying, unsuccessfully, to establish contact with him. I have carried on the task and it is possible to honour a man to whom I, my children and my grandchildren owe our lives,” Nira Berry said.

Israel's Ambassador to Poland, Zvi Rav-Ner, who presided over the ceremony, said that those who saved Jews were people of various background: rich and poor, city residents and farmers, highly educated and uneducated people.

“What they in common was a sense of humanity in the most difficult times. As the Talmud says:‘whoever saves one life, saves the entire world',” the Israeli ambassador said.

It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of Poles offered aid to Jews during World War II, risking their lives and those of their families.

About 19 000 people have been honoured with the Righteous among the Nations medals, over 6 300 of them Poles. (mk/pg)

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