Maria Burdowa

Poland

Salia and Richard Klarfeld lived with their children, Eva (subsequently Chava) and Marian (subsequently Moshe) in Lvov, Poland. Once a week, Maria Burdowa, a Polish woman from the town of Jaworow used to come to the house selling flowers, and a friendship grew between them.

In April 1942, as life became more precarious for Jews, the Karfelds approached Maria, and asked her to take Eva and Marian in until things calmed down, offering her money to help with the extra expenses.

Maria took Eva and Marian under her wing and devoted herself to looking after them. On one of her visits to the Karfeld home she discovered that the house had been burgled, and that Salia and Richard had been deported. They were both murdered in the Belzec extermination camp.

Maria was left with the children - Marian a one-year-old baby, and Eva, who was 4 years old. She made sure they had everything they needed, and kept them healthy. At the same time, she had to cope with financial hardship and the many raids on Polish houses by the Germans who had been informed about Polish collaboration.

Maria continued to look after the children after the war too. She went with them as far as Krakow, and insisted on continuing to take care of them, at the same time looking for relatives of the children, who had been part of a very large family in Lvov. Maria contacted members of the Jewish community and the JDC, and the children moved to educational facilities in the city. Then too, Maria still visited the children and made sure they were well.

At their meeting on 23 October 2006 the members of the Commission for the Designation of the Righteous Among the Nations at Yad Vashem reached the decision to award the title of Righteous Among the Nations posthumously to Maria Burdowa.