14 February 2008
Jozef and Rozalia Streker, Righteous Among the Nations from Poland, will be posthumously honored at Yad Vashem on Sunday, February 17, 2008 for rescuing Moty Stromer during the Holocaust. A memorial ceremony will be held in the Hall of Remembrance at 11:00, followed by the recognition ceremony in the Yad Vashem Synagogue at 11:20 and the unveiling of the names of the Righteous in the Garden of the Righteous. The ceremony will take place in English and Polish, in the presence of Stanislaw Briks, grandson, and Eugeniusz Piatek, great-grandson of the Righteous, both from Poland; Sue Stromer Talansky and Nina Gaspar, of the USA, daughters of Moty Stromer; and Polish Ambassador to Israel Agnieszka Magdziak-Miszewska.
In addition to the recognition ceremony, the wartime diary of Moty Stromer, Memoirs of an Unfortunate Person, written while he was in hiding with the Strekers, will be launched. Published as part of Yad Vashem’s Holocaust Survivors Memoir Project, it has been translated from its original Yiddish into English.
The events are open to the press in coordination with the Media Relations Department: 02 6443410.
The Rescue Story
Moty (Marek) Stromer was born in Kamionka-Strumilowa, near Lvov, Poland, in 1910. The Stromers had a liquor business in Kamionka, and also ran a small retail business in the town. Moty worked in the family business, and lived in Kamionka with his parents, siblings and extended family until the outbreak of the war. After the murder of his grandfather and great uncle, Moty fled to Lvov, where he was incarcerated in the ghetto with his married sister Zlata and her family. From there Moty was sent to the Janowska forced labor camp.
Moty managed to escape and headed back to Kamionka, where he found refuge at the farm of Jozef and Rozalia Streker, ethnic Germans living with their daughter Helena in a rural area called Jagonia. Mr. Streker had been a regular customer of the Stromers before the war, and had once borrowed some money from his Jewish business acquaintances. The Strekers hid Moty in the attic of one of their barns, and took care of all his needs. To alleviate Moty’s boredom and loneliness, the Strekers had him peel and cut up potatoes for the livestock and also brought him a blank ledger book and a pencil. He began to write a diary - a poignant memoir describing his experiences since the beginning of the war.
Hiding Moty placed the Strekers in grave danger, but even when a relative appeared one day at the farm wearing an SS uniform, they were undeterred. He remained hidden by the Strekers from the summer of 1943 until the spring of 1944, almost an entire year. He left towards the end of the war when the Strekers were forced to abandon the farm and move westward.
Moty kept in contact with the Strekers after the war, and after they died, with their daughter Helena. Moty passed away in 1993. Most of the Stromer family was murdered during the Holocaust, including Moty’s mother Gittel, father Shaul, sister Zlata and her family, his grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
To date, 22,211 individuals have been recognized as Righteous Among the Nations, including 6,066 from Poland.