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Yad Vashem to Honor Righteous Among the Nations from Germany Monday

Holocaust Survivor to Attend Event

24 November 2011

On Monday, November 28, 2011, Yad Vashem will hold a ceremony posthumously honoring Adolf Otto, as Righteous Among the Nations from Germany. His daughter, Anna Suchecka will arrive from Poland to accept the medal and certificate of honor on his behalf. The event will take place in the presence of the survivor Hedva Gil, Polish Ambassador to Israel H.E. Agnieszka Magdziak Miszewska, a representative of the German Embassy in Israel, family and friends.

A memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance will be held at 11:00 a.m. followed by the awarding of the medal and certificate in the Synagogue at Yad Vashem. The events will take place in Hebrew and Polish. The event is open to the press, in coordination with the Media Relations dept. 02 644 3410.

The Rescue Story

Adolf Otto was born in 1904 in Walbrzych (Waldenburg), in Lower Silesia. Lower Silesia was part of Germany during World War II, and after the war became part of Poland. During WWII, Adolf served in the German Air Force, in a factory that produced uniforms. The factory was located in Zawiercie, where some 7,000 Jews lived until the outbreak of the war. A ghetto was established in 1941, and the majority of the Jews who lived in the ghetto worked in the local German Air Force factory. Hedva Gil, born Alfreda Leizerowicz in 1929, was among the factory workers. In the summer of 1943, Adolf told Hedva that he was going on sick leave, but before he left, he gave her his home address and told her that in the event of danger, he would shelter her in his home.

In August 1943, the final destruction of the Zawiercie ghetto began. Hedva escaped from the ghetto and arrived at Adolf 's house without any identification. He accepted her immediately. Adolf and his wife had a young son, who, like other young people at the time, was a member of the Hitler Youth. The couple told their son that Hedva was a young Jewish girl and that she would stay with them until they could find a safer place for her. The Ottos told their neighbors that Hedva was a relative, asking Hedva to call them "aunt" and "uncle." Hedva stayed with the Ottos for more than a week, during which time they treated her in an exemplary fashion. When Adolf was ready to return to work at the factory, he gave her the address of a farmer in a neighboring village where she would be able to find work. Hedva was unable to locate the address of the farmer that Adolf had recommended she seek out. Left with no choice, Hedva found work with another farmer until liberation, never revealing her Jewish identity.

Adolf Otto remained in Walbrzych until his death in 1971.

On February 15, 2011, the Commission for the Designation of the Righteous Among the Nations at Yad Vashem decided to award Adolf Otto the title of Righteous Among the Nations.