Warsaw Uprising Commemorations

A beautiful event commemorating the #WarsawUprising and a wonderful tribute to a jointly shared past, today’s friendship between Polish and Jewish institutions and people in #NewZealand as well as future projects aiming at preservation of history and personal memories. 

Polish Ambassador to New Zealand Zbigniew Gniatkowski delivered a powerful speech and Prof. Roberto Rabel shared a personal tribute to his late father Jerzy, one of the great heroes of the 1944 Uprising. Thank you Holocaust Centre of New Zealand for your hospitality and initiative!



The Embassy exhibition ‘Żegota’ was on display at the Holocaust Centre during the commemorations. “Żegota was the Polish Council to Aid Jews with the Government Delegation for Poland, an underground Polish resistance organization, and part of the Polish Underground State, active 1942–45 in German-occupied Poland. Poland was the only country in German-occupied Europe where such a government-established and -supported underground organization existed.  

Żegota helped save some 4,000 Polish Jews by providing food, medical care, relief money, and false identity documents for those hiding on the so-called “Aryan side” of German-occupied Poland. Most of its activity took place in Warsaw. The Jewish National Committee had some 5,600 Jews under its care and the Bund, an additional 1,500, but the activities of the three organizations overlapped to a considerable degree. Among them, they were able to reach some 8,500 of the 28,000 Jews hiding in Warsaw, and perhaps another 1,000 Jews hiding elsewhere in Poland.

 Help in money, food, and medicines was organised by Żegota as well for Jews in several forced-labour camps in Poland.[17]Financial aid and forged identity documents were procured for those hiding on the “Aryan side”. Escapes of Jews from ghettos, camps, and deportation trains mostly occurred spontaneously through personal contacts, and most of the help that was extended to Jews in the country was similarly personal in nature. Because Jews in hiding preferred to remain well concealed, Żegota had trouble finding them. Its activities therefore did not develop on a larger scale until late in 1943.

Żegota played a large part in placing Jewish children with foster families, public orphanages, church orphanages, and convents. Foster families had to be told that the children were Jewish so that appropriate precautions could be taken, especially in the case of boys (Jewish boys, unlike most Poles, were circumcised). Żegota sometimes paid for the children’s care. In Warsaw, Żegota’s childrens’ department, headed by Irena Sendler, cared for 2,500 of the 9,000 Jewish children smuggled out of the Warsaw Ghetto. At war’s end Sendler attempted to return the children to their parents, but nearly all the parents had died at Treblinka.

Medical attention for Jews in hiding was made available through the Committee of Democratic and Socialist Physicians.[18] Żegota had ties with many ghettos and camps, and made numerous efforts to induce the Polish Government in Exile and the Government Delegation for Poland to appeal to the Polish population to help the persecuted Jews.[2]  ”   Wikipaedia  –  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%BBegota

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