Gratitude of Pope John Paul II
Clarín Newspaper October 7, 2001
Paul II looked her directly in the eyes and said: "I
know very well who you are and I thank you for everything
you did. In my country, Poland, especially in the region
of Cracovia, thanks to you and your husband many Polish
Jews were saved, but your actions also saved the lives
of numerous Catholic
Polish people ".
It was a cold midday of March 22, 1995. Saint Peter's
Square, at the Vatican, was crowded
religious individuals. But at that moment the clock stopped ticking
just for her.
Those accompanying her could see the way in which her
face, usually strong, transformed almost instantaneously
due to the emotion. She could
barely speak. Her
lifetime dream of meeting the Pope was finally coming
"I was raised in a Catholic family where I was taught
two things: one, that a human being never has less rights
than another one. Two, that you have to help whoever is
in trouble", she used to say.
She wore on her chest the medal that the
Argentine government gave to her on
January 25 the same year: the Order of May to the Merit
in the Degree of Commander. This award had been granted
due to a proposal made by Casa Argentina en Jerusalem,
an organization which promotes the International
Raoul Wallenberg Foundation
and the Commemorative Mural dedicated to the victims
of the Holocaust placed in the Metropolitan Cathedral
of the city of Buenos Aires. Likewise, this landmark is
the only memorial in the whole world installed
within a Christian temple that pays tribute
to the millions of
people exterminated by the Nazi regime.
Emilie Schindler lived in Argentina since 1948 until July
8 of this year, when she returned to Germany, the country
where she lived the most important years of her life and
where she finally died.
Her case was discovered and made public by the journalist
Pedro Gorlinsky, of the newspaper Argentinisches Tageblatt.
In the early nineteen
sixties Helmut Heinemann, president
of the Tradition
branch of the Philanthropic
society B'nai B'rith, began helping Emilie. Years later
Leonor and José Matzner continued with that privilege.