Polish Students Fulfill Their Promise to a Holocaust Survivor
The Fellowship | December 23, 2015
When 77-year-old Holocaust survivor, Anya, was asked to share her survival story with a group of Polish students, she couldn’t believe the outpouring of love and support she received. Inspired by Anya’s talk, the students cleaned up the overgrown and neglected cemetery in Anya’s hometown in Poland where her family was buried – which was a beautiful way to show their support.
Last week Anya Ponimonsky of Kiryat Bialik, 77, opened her mailbox and to her surprise found pictures of Polish students tending to the Jewish cemetery in the small town she grew up in.
Ponimonsky’s grandmother and aunt are buried there along with 21 other Jews who were murdered by the Nazis in a cruel massacre, following which she was left alone. Ponimonsky couldn’t believe her eyes.
In tears, she called her husband Marek and told him: “They kept their promise.”
This moving story started about six weeks ago, during a visit to Kiryat Bialik by a group of teenagers from Poland. Ponimonsky stood before the students and told them her story of surviving the ghetto in her hometown, Radomsko.
At the end of her talk, Ponominsky spoke painfully about the Jewish cemetery in Radomsko that fell into neglect, making it near-impossible to identify the graves under the dense vegetation.
The Polish students were deeply moved by her life story and promised that they would take care of the Jewish cemetery when they returned home.
During all her years in Israel Ponimonsky never spoke about what happened to her in the Holocaust. She made aliyah to Israel 54 years ago, worked as a midwife and then a nurse, met Marek, got married, had two children who gave her grandchildren and 17 years ago retired.
Only when she reached the age of 66 did she start to open up about what she’d been through, sharing with her family the horrors that she experienced