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The Righteous Soccer Star

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Tadeusz Gebethner

Life: November 18, 1897 - October 14, 1944

Why you should know him: Tadeusz Gebethner grew up in a well-to-do Polish family - his grandfather had founded one of Poland's largest publishing houses. But Tadeusz true love was playing soccer. As president of Polonia sports club and captain of its soccer team, Tadeusz was able to realize this love. And his club, unlike others in Poland, allowed Jewish players and even played in a tournament against a Tel Aviv team.

But then Nazi Germany invaded Poland in 1939. Tadeusz volunteered to fight the Nazis, but after Poland was overrun, he was interned in Lithuania. Escaping the prison camp, Tadeusz hid in a bookstore owned by his grandfather's publishing company. And it was there that he began to fight the Nazi scourge as part of the Polish Underground.

In 1942, a Jewish woman named Ludwika Abrahamer survived the Skawina Massacre, along with her 12-year-old daughter Alina. Ludwika and Alina, while alive, were homeless and destitute. But then they were taken in by Tadeusz Gebethner, who also took in Ludwika's husband, Solomon, after he was able to escape from the Skawina concentration camp. Tadeusz helped the Abrahamers obtain false identification, and when Solomon needed emergency eye surgery, Tadeusz found a surgeon who would come perform the operation by candlelight.

The next year, informers turned the family in to the police, who turned them over to the Gestapo. Tadeusz paid a large sum of money for their release. The Abrahamers then were able to escape to Hungary and then to Israel, where they made a home in Tel Aviv.

Tadeusz continued to fight the Nazis. However in the Warsaw Uprising, he was gravely wounded. After losing an arm and a leg, the ex-soccer player died from his injuries.

In 1981, Alina, the young girl he had once saved, asked that Yad Vashem recognize her rescuer. That year, Tadeusz Gebethner was named Righteous Among the Nations.

Tags: Stories , Partnerships and People

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