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Yad Vashem to Honor Righteous Among the Nations from Poland Thursday

Holocaust Survivor to Attend Event

20 March 2012

On Thursday, March 22, 2012, Yad Vashem will hold a ceremony posthumously honoring Stanisław and Regina Świda of Poland, as Righteous Among the Nations. Their granddaughter Małgorzata-Ana Gronek, will accept the medal and certificate of honor on her grandparents' behalf. The event will take place in the presence Ms. Urszula Jurczyńska, Counselor of the Polish Embassy, survivor Dr. Avraham Horowitz, family and friends.

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

The Rescue Story

When Avraham Horowitz was born in 1940 to Tatiana and Benjamin Horowitz, he began his life in the Warsaw ghetto. In April 1943, around the time of the liquidation of the ghetto, Benjamin and Tatiana's Polish acquaintances, who were active in the underground, helped them escape the ghetto to the Aryan side of Warsaw. Tatiana managed to get hold of forged papers; she was now called Irena Waldo. Tatiana went to live with a Polish family in the outskirts of Warsaw where she worked under her false identity. Benjamin went into hiding in Warsaw, and Avraham was hidden in several different places until a warm home was found for him with Stanisław and Regina Świda, who were active in the underground. The couple and their two adopted children - 16-year-old Renata and 17-year-old Dominik - warmly accepted Avraham into their home. Because he was circumcised, hiding Avraham’s Jewish identity was problematic, but Stanisław thought of an audacious plan: They would present Avraham as the son of Muslim Tartar friends. Stanisław approached the head of the Tartar community in Warsaw, explaining that the child's father had been murdered, his mother had disappeared, and Avraham had been found on the street with a note with the Świda's address on it. The head of the community accepted the story as true and was prepared to certify that Avraham was part of the Tartar community, but first it was necessary to receive a permit from the Gestapo. With great trepidation, Stanisław went to the Gestapo, stating boldly that he was certain that the child was not Jewish, and he received a certificate stating that "Achmed Kraczkiewicz" (Avraham’s new identity) was a member of the Tartar community.

Avraham lived with "Uncle Stanisław" and "Aunt Regina" until the summer of 1944. Regina was like a mother to him, treating him with warmth and love during a very difficult period. Throughout the time he was with the Świda family, Avraham was visited, twice monthly, by his mother, "Mrs. Irena." Stanisław and his son Dominik were killed in August 1944, at the beginning of the Warsaw Uprising, and Regina and Avraham sought refuge with friends of Regina.

In 1945, following liberation, Tatiana returned to collect her son. Regina parted tearfully from her young charge, and Tatiana and Avraham returned to the suburbs of Warsaw where Tatiana was working. Regina stayed in touch with Avraham and Tatiana until the Horowitzes came to Israel in 1950. Regina Świda passed away in 1979.

On August 2, 2011, the Commission for the Designation of the Righteous Among the Nations at Yad Vashem decided to award Stanisław and Regina Świda the title of Righteous Among the Nations.