Danuta Kleisinger, Poland

Born Danuta Czlapinska in 1924, Danuta was still a young woman when the Warsaw Ghetto was established in 1940. She risked her life to smuggle food and money to the Prezman family in the ghetto. However, Danuta didn’t choose the Prezmans randomly. Since before the war, Danuta had been friends with Jusek Prezman. Likewise, Danuta’s mother had befriended Jusek’s mother, Scheine.

Sometime before the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943, Danuta helped Jusek, along with a friend of his, Josef Kormarzyn, escape from the ghetto. Being active in the Polish underground, Danuta sheltered the two men in her home, located in the Aryan section of Warsaw.

Danuta’s future husband, Ewald Kleisinger, was living in her home at that time. Since the occupation of Poland, Ewald had been serving as an armed forces officer at the railway guard in Warsaw. This position afforded him certain privileges. With Ewald’s assistance, Danuta provided Jusek and Josef with falsified Aryan papers and driver’s permits.

After a few weeks, the two men left their sanctuary and drove towards Austria. They were disguised as Polish Christian agricultural workers. Jusek and Josef stayed at the home of Ewald’s parents in Vienna. Provided with food and other essentials, they lived as members of the Kleisinger family until the end of the war.

Danuta was also able to save Scheine Prezman from the Ghetto.

Danuta and Ewald Kleisinger have been awarded with the title ”Righteous Among the Nations” by Israel’s Yad Vashem Institute. They were also made honorary citizens of Israel.

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