My years of experience in research in the area of rescue and the Holocaust proved to me again and again that there are small miracles and disappointments. It also taught me about perseverance and hope.
I would like to share with you one remarkable story of success, of discovering a rescuer more than sixty years after the rescue. But first, I would like to reassure you that despite the challenges, we are continuing with our mission and commitment to reveal Raoul Wallenberg’s fate and to bring him home. As recently as this week we have sent a letter to the President of Russia asking him, based on the vast support to our signature campaign, to help us achieve this goal. We invite you to help us and support us in this humanitarian effort.
As the following story shows, perseverance and hope can prevail. Six months ago, Steve Colman (previously Kalman) from Australia contacted IRWF to tell us his story of rescue. Steve, a teenager during the Holocaust, and his mother were sheltered by Zsuzsanna Reszeli and her daughter Karolina nicknamed ”Csöpi” (”Dwarf” in Hungarian). Although Karolina was 17 at the time, she had a height of the normal three year old. Both Karolina and her mother went through great danger in providing shelter and food for the Kalmans without ever regretting their decision to help.
Karolina still lives in Budapest. After we conducted extensive research, we decided to award Karolina and her late mother the Raoul Wallenberg Medal and the Esfira Maiman Women Rescuers Medal.
It is rare and moving to be able to honor a living rescuer so many years after their heroic deeds. And for me, this is proof that there are many stories waiting to be told.
Steve recently sent me an emotional email, where he writes: ”Csöpi is part of our family now, and humanity can be justly proud that there still are some people like Csöpi and her mother. Csöpi survived breast cancer, her vertebra is twisted and she had brain hemorrhage and stroke which made her arm useless. But if you were to need help even now she would offer refuge to a persecuted or any who might need her assistance. Csöpi and her late mother are the real heroes of those awful times 64 years ago. Not those of us who survived are the heroes, but the Reszeli women and some people like Wallenberg, who really had no connection to those whom they decided to help.”
The ceremony to honor Zsuzsanna and Karolina ”Csöpi” Reszeli will take place at 2pm on October 27, 2008 at John Wesley Theological College located at 11 Dankó Street in Budapest, Hungary. You can send endorsement letters that will be given to Karolina Reszeli: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Mordecai Paldiel
Holocaust Rescuers to Receive Wallenberg Medal – Budapest, Hungary
The distinction will be bestowed in tribute to the courageous humanitarian feats displayed by Ms. Karolina Reszeli and her mother Zsuzsanna Reszeli during the dreaded reign of Nazi terror in Budapest. Amidst constant threat to their own lives, they gave shelter at their own home to several Jews. Among them, Mr. Steven Colman and his late mother. Mr. Colman, who is nowadays an Australian citizen, will especially fly to Budapest to attend the ceremony. /?en/about/releases/international-raoul-wallenberg.5118.htm
The IRWF Initiates the Honoring of a Polish Rescuer
Esfira Maiman, a 94 year old Holocaust survivor has reconnected with the family of the brave Polish women Stanislawa Slawinska who saved her life and that of her own mother by sheltering them from the Nazis in Poland from 1942 until the end of the war. The formal request to Yad Vashem that Ms. Maiman handed two years ago was still in the phase of research when her daughter approached the IRWF. The Foundation not only managed to locate Roman Slawinski, Stanislawa’s nephew, but also passed along to Yad Vashem a comprehensive dossier in order to help in the process of recognizing Stanislawa’s deeds. Consequently, Yad Vashem decided to posthumously bestow the title of Righteous Among the Nations to the late Ms. Slawinska.
The Closing of the Olschwanger Exhibit
The Berlin exhibit of the wartime caricatures of Robert Hans Olschwanger was organized by the IRWF and the Vaterunser Gemeinde Church. More than 200 anti-Nazi caricatures made by this remarkable artist, who having fled from the horrors of the Third Reich found shelter in Peru, were on display since May 2008. The Exhibition was attended by a great of number of visitors and earned the accolades from the specialized critics.
Film Festival: ”Rescuers in the Holocaust”
”Rescuers in the Holocaust” is organized by the Wallenberg Foundation with the cooperation of the Ricardo Rojas Cultural Center and the Office of Cultural Heritage of the Government of Buenos Aires. The films that are dedicated to the memory of the rescuers who helped saving lives during the most tragic period of human history will be presented on four consecutive Thursdays starting on October 16th.
E-books on Rescuers, A New Project of the IRWF
The IRWF announces a new edition of e-book series dedicated to various topics related to Rescuers during the Holocaust. The e-books will be available in English and Spanish and will be easy to download from IRWF’s website. The Werthein family from Argentina sponsored the publication.