A Polish council worker who gave the Jewish underground fake identity documents, information on Nazi activities and a list of hiding locations, and a Jersey woman who risked her life by hiding Jewish friend from the Nazis, have been honoured as Righteous Among the Nations.
At a ceremony in London, Israel’s Ambassador to Britain H.E. Mark Regev and the UK’s Special Envoy for post-Holocaust issues, Rt. Hon. Sir Eric Pickles MP, met the family of Josef Pluskowski, a socialist party member regarded as a public figure, social activist, scholar and publicist.
During the war, he worked for Warsaw City Council, but outside his employment he served as the liaison between the Polish resistance movement and the Jewish resistance in Warsaw. His wife Irena helped him, carrying weapons to the ghetto and arming the resistance. Pluskowski died in 1950.
Sir Eric said: “This is an extraordinary story of heroism, where Pluskowski and his wife decided that they were not going to be downtrodden by the Nazis, but were going to rescue people, some people they knew, some people they never met. It’s an act of goodness and kindness. They are true heroes”.
Sir Eric and Ambassador Regev had earlier travelled to Jersey to honour Dorothea Weber, who was named a Righteous Among the Nations for saving the life of her Jewish friend Hedwig Bercu on the Nazi-controlled island.
For 18 months Dorothea shared her rations with Hedwig, who in desperation had faked her own death in a bid to escape persecution – although the Germans saw through the ruse.
Righteous Among Nations are awarded by the Yad Vashem – the Jewish living memorial to the Holocaust – on behalf of the state of Israel, to non-Jewish people who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.