Dan Landsberg was born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1939, and lived with his parents in nearby Otwock. In December 1940, the Otwock ghetto was established, and Dan was interned there with his parents. In 1942, just before the ghetto’s liquidation, Dan was transferred to the orphanage in the Saint Elizabeth convent in Otwock, where he was hidden under a false identity for a number of months.
Dan was moved from the convent to a village in the Lublin district in Eastern Poland, where he continued to live under a false identity with one of the local families. Dan’s mother had promised the family that hid him a large amount of money in return for his refuge. In 1944, a reconnaissance unit of the Red Army arrived in the area, and clashed with a unit of the German army. A German soldier trained his pistol on Dan, but one of the Soviet soldiers saved his life at the last second. After the clash in the village, the reconnaissance unit withdrew, and only after another month was the area liberated by the Red Army. After liberation, Dan met his Soviet rescuer again, who promised him: “You are coming with me to Berlin.” But the family that had given him refuge demanded the money promised them for saving him, and only after a number of months they returned him to his mother, who had survived the Shoah. Dan’s father had been a member of the Polish National Underground (AK) and was murdered by one of his Polish counterparts.
After the war, Dan stayed in Poland where he met Dorota, who became his wife. He learned electronics, and in 1965 immigrated to Israel. There he worked in the engineering unit of the Ministry of Communications, as well as taking charge of the projects laboratory at the Electrical Engineering Faculty at the Technion.
In 1960 Dan met one of his rescuers, Gertruda Marciniak, the Mother Superior of the convent in Otwock where he had been hidden. She told him on her deathbed about one day when the Germans had come on a surprise visit to the monastery to look for Jewish children. Since she had no time to hide Dan, Marciniak concealed him under her long habit, which reached the floor. She was a tall woman, and Dan was just three years old. “She told the Germans that the monastery was not hiding any children, and in complete silence she walked around the kitchen, with me under her dress, held by her legs so I wouldn’t fall. This act required nerves of steel, but we stood up to the test and got out of it alive,” he relates. In 2007, Yad Vashem posthumously recognized Gertruda Marciniak as Righteous Among the Nations.
Dan and Dorota have four children and seven grandchildren.