09 October 2018
On Thursday, 11 October 2018, Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, will host a ceremony posthumously honoring Mikołaj and Helena Sajowski and Aniela Debińska from Poland as Righteous Among the Nations. Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev will present the medal and certificate of honor to Barbara Rybczyńska, Aniela's daughter, on behalf of Yad Vashem, the State of Israel and the Jewish people. The ceremony will take place in the presence of members of the rescuers’ family including survivor Sala Armel-Goldhar and her son Mitch, as well as a representative the Canadian and Polish Embassy to Israel. The ceremony will be begin at 11:20 and be conducted in Polish and English.
Media interested in covering this event should contact firstname.lastname@example.org, and arrive on Thursday by 11:20 with valid GPO card at the Hall of Remembrance.
Mikołaj and Helena Sajowski and Aniela Debinska's names will be added to the Wall of Honor in the Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations at Yad Vashem.
The Rescue Story
Sala Armel-Goldhar lived with her parents, Israel Ber and Feiga (née Leibenhaut) Armel, in the town of Stryj, near Lwów (today Lviv), Poland. Israel was a furrier.
When Sala was five years old, World War II broke out, and the area was occupied first by the Soviets and then by the Germans. In order to save her, little Sala’s parents gave her, along with two or three family photos and a few addresses abroad, to a Polish woman named Aniela Dembińska. Though she came from the city of Czortków, Aniela worked as a teacher in Stryj. She brought Sala to the farm belonging to her mother and stepfather, Helena and Mikołaj Sajowski.
On her first night with the Sajowskis, Sala slept on the floor between the two parents, who wanted to calm her after days of fear. Despite their old age, they treated Sala well and made efforts to protect her. Aniela took the risk of presenting Sala as her own child, even though she had a daughter of her own in Stryj. This was possible because Sala had blond hair and blue eyes, like most Poles and Ukrainians in the area.
Still, it was very hard for the five-year-old girl. The cold, the darkness, the foul smells from cows and goats on the farm, and missing her parents deeply all made her very unhappy. She managed to run away once, but returned immediately after seeing a gallows with the bodies of Jews hanging from it. She spent approximately two years with the Sajowskis.
After the war, Sala was entrusted by the Sajowskis to a Jewish man by the name of Dr. Schorr. He lived in Czortków with his wife, and the two of them took in several Jewish children so that they would have a home with a Jewish family. The Schorrs raised these children, along with their own son, Emanuel.
Sala stayed with the Schorrs for two years, until their departure to Israel. She decided to stay in Poland, in case her parents should come looking for her; but they never did. Sala managed to contact her mother’s aunt in Toronto, and left for Canada in April 1948.
On 27 December 2017, Yad Vashem recognized Mikołaj and Helena Sajowski and Aniela (Zachariasiewicz) Dembińska as Righteous Among the Nations.
To date, Yad Vashem has recognized some 27,000 individuals from over 50 countries as Righteous Among the Nations.