By Gil Tanenbaum
JERUSALEM — Two Polish women, Renata Rostworowska and her aunt Kristina Wojewódzka, were posthumously named “Righteous Among the Nations” by Yad Vashem, Israel’s national Holocaust memorial and museum.
Chairman Danny Dayan and Director of the Righteous of the World Dept., Dr. Yoel Zysenwein, presented the honors at a ceremony held Oct. 23 at Yad Vashem to Rostworowska’s son and Wojewódzka’s granddaughter in the presence of the Holocaust survivor who the family saved, Stanislaw Shlomo Aronson, his family members, the military attaché at the Polish embassy and other family members and friends of his rescuers.
Born in 1925 in Warsaw, Aronson spent most of his childhood years in Lodz.
After the Germans invaded Poland in 1939, the Aronson family fled east to Lviv, Ukraine, then part of the Soviet Union.
Following the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, the family was forced by the German occupiers to move to the Warsaw Ghetto.
In 1942, they were sent to concentration camps.
Stanislaw, however, managed to escape from the train and returned to Warsaw where he joined the ranks of the underground under the pseudonym Ryshard Zhurawsky and later changed his name to Zhukovsky.
During this time, he was sworn into the Polish underground organization “Armia Krajowa,” or Home Army, and only a few of its other members knew that he was Jewish.
One of those was Renata Rostworowska, who rented him her apartment. By keeping his secret, she protected him from being rounded up and executed by the Germans, but also from other members of the Polish underground who were anti-Semitic.
Shortly before the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising, which took place from August 1 to October 2, 1944, Renata gave Stanislaw the address of her Aunt Kristina Wojewódzka’s home in the village of Dalchowice, near Cracow, where he could find refuge.
The Warsaw Uprising was intended as a coordinated operation in which the remaining Polish underground forces would take control of the city as a diversion while Soviet forces would continue their push forward against the remaining German forces in the area.
However, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin held his forces back so that the Germans could wipe out Polish resistance forces. Stalin suspected that many of the people who might resist Soviet occupation of Poland would be eliminated while also weakening German forces in the continued fighting.
During the uprising, Stanislaw was severely wounded. After the fall of Warsaw, he left the city. He made it to the Wojewódzka estate where he was greeted by Renata and Kristina. They took care of him until he recovered from his wounds. He remained there until the arrival of the Red Army.
After the war ended, Stanislaw immigrated to Israel, enlisted in the IDF near the time of its establishment and fought in several of Israel’s wars. He settled in Tel Aviv, raised a family and maintains contact with his Polish friends to this day.