Rescuing a Childhood Friend

Rescuing a Childhood Friend

Credit:Yad Vashem

Growing up in the Polish town of Plock, Stanislawa Kaczmarczyk was a Christian girl who befriended a Jewish boy, Jakub Rotman. While life in Poland was good then, it would become bad with the invasion of the Nazis and their quest to eliminate all of Europe’s Jews.

Before the war started, Stanislawa moved to the city of Warsaw. After the Nazis occupied the city, Stanislawa became reacquainted with her Jewish friend Jakub. Because of the Nazis’ anti-Semitic laws, Stanislawa invited Jakub to hide in her apartment. She also obtained false identification papers for him, in her own brother’s name so that Jakub could pass as her husband, since they now shared a surname. Several times, Stanislawa saved Jakub’s life when the police were after him.

But Jakub was not the only Jewish person Stanislawa helped. She aided many other Jews fleeing the Warsaw Ghetto. And one day, a friend brought a Jewish woman and her seven-year-old daughter to Stanislawa’s home. Stanislawa not only sheltered the two, but also gave them her dead sister’s birth certificate so they could obtain official “Christian” paperwork.

After the war, Stanislawa and her friend Jakub were married. They settled in Warsaw and had a daughter. But in 1987, after Jakub had passed away, Stanislawa followed her daughter in making aliyah (immigrating to Israel). The couple’s daughter Bozenna worked at Yad Vashem, the very Holocaust memorial that would in 1989 honor her mother as a Righteous Gentile.

Tags: Advocates and Allies History Holocaust Jakub Rotman Poland Righteous Among the Nations Stanislawa Kaczmarczyk World War II Yad Vashem

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