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Out of the Ghetto

Hipolit Ropelewski holding Miroslawa Chaskielberg (Photo: Yad Vashem)

The Ropelewski Family

Natan Chaskielberg was a Jewish man from Poland whose family, like thousands of others, was forced by the Nazis into the Warsaw Ghetto. From his time working in a factory before the Nazi occupation, Natan knew a good Christian man named Hipolit Ropelewski. As the situation in the ghetto grew worse and death for the Jews there seemed imminent, Natan had a plan to save his infant daughter, Miroslawa. He asked his friend Hipolit for help.

In November of 1942, Hipolit and his wife Wiktoria sneaked the baby girl from the ghetto and to their home, where they raised her for three years. The story they told those who asked was that the baby was a Christian orphan whose family had been killed in a bombing raid. Some suspected the baby was Jewish, but the girl's "Aryan" features helped the Ropelewski family's story hold up.

Miroslawa was raised by the couple as if she was their own, and their own young son Robert considered her his sister, and the family kept her safe and sound. Eventually, the family also sheltered the baby's mother Lea, as well as another Jewish family. Sadly, Natan Chaskielberg was murdered by the Nazis. But because of the Ropelewski family's selflessness, his wife and baby daughter survived. For their actions, Hipolit, Wiktoria, and Robert Ropelewski were all named Righteous Among the Nations in 2005.

Tags: Advocates and Allies

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