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Righteous Among the Nations from Poland and Holland

Ceremony at Yad Vashem Tomorrow

6 November 2005

A ceremony honoring Hipolit and Wiktoria Ropelewski and their son Robert from Poland, and Elizabeth Bol from Holland as Righteous Among the Nations will be held at Yad Vashem tomorrow, November 7, 2005 at 11:30. The Ropelewski family looked after Miroslava Arditi in Poland when she was a baby, presenting her as a child of relatives, and also hid her mother Leah Cheskelberg in their home near Warsaw during the war. Elizabeth Bol helped her parents hide and care for Jews in their house in the west of Holland.

Chairman of the Commission of Designation of the Righteous Among the Nations, Judge Jacob Turkel will present the certificate and medal to Robert Ropelewski’s daughter, Wiktoria Bogdan and to Elizabeth Bol in the presence of approximately 80 people - including survivors Dr. Mordechai Menat and Miroslava Arditi, the Cultural Attaché of the Embassy of the Netherlands, Dik Wentink and family members of the rescuers and the survivors.

The ceremony will be conducted in Hebrew and translated in Dutch and Polish. The program is as follows:

11:30 Presentation of the awards and medals in the Yad Vashem Auditorium

12:30 Unveiling of names in the Garden of the Righteous

Background Information:

Hipolit, Wiktoria and Robert Ropelewski

Miroslava Arditi was born in the Warsaw Ghetto on February 7, 1942 to Leah and Nathan Cheskelberg. In November 1942, Nathan handed his baby daughter Miroslava to his Polish friend Hipolit Ropelewski hoping to save her life. Miroslava lived with the Ropelewski family in the Warsaw suburb of Mlociny, where she was taken care of by the mother of the family, Wiktoria Ropelewski and the son Robert who was 15 years old at the time.

The family told people that the baby was a daughter of a relative who had been killed during the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, and protected her and cared for all her needs. The family also hid other Jews in their basement and other hiding places in Mlociny at great risk to their lives, particularly since a Gestapo watchtower, which was guarding a telephone cable, was positioned close to their house and there were neighbors who suspected that the child was Jewish.

During the liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto, Miroslava’s father Nathan was killed, but her mother Leah managed to escape and also hide in the Ropelweski’s house, where they were both hidden until the liberation of Warsaw.

Elizabeth Bol

Elizabeth, who was 15 at the time, assisted her parents who were members of a local underground movement in Holland, in hiding and caring for Jews in their house. She was responsible for warning them about Nazi searches of houses, buying food with forged food coupons, and encouraging Jews by updating them with news about their families and the outside world. At times, the family hid over ten people in their house, mostly Jews. Occasionally, when the parents were absent, Elizabeth was responsible for looking after the Jews who were hiding.

When news circulated in July 1943, that due to informers, the hiding places in the Bol household were compromised, Elizabeth managed with much resourcefulness to find alternative hiding places for four of the eight Jews who were hiding in their house, one of whom was Mordechai Menat. When Elizabeth’s parents came home, they found other hiding places for the rest of them. About a week later the Germans appeared in the Bol’s house and headed straight for the hiding place of the Jews, but found no one. After the search the parents were arrested. The mother was released after two weeks and the father was deported to the camps of Vught and Amersfoort where he remained until a week before liberation in May 1945.

The event will take place on Monday, November 7, 2005 at 11:30 in the Auditorium, and is open to the Press.

More information about the Righteous Among the Nations program is available at http://www1.yadvashem.org/yv/en/righteous/index.asp