The Raoul Wallenberg Foundation is conducting a world-wide search for Catholics who aided Jews.
One of these rescuers was Janina ‘Juana’ Klein Dylag, who passed away on May 22nd in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she and her husband had emigrated to in 1948. The Polish Catholic woman, who was 87 years old, had been honored by the Raoul Wallenberg Foundation in 2003 for her role in saving the lives of a Jewish family comprised of Felicia Erlich and her daughters, Danuta and Irena, during the German occupation. Janina had been a member of the underground Polish army as a sergeant major, when she learned of the Jewish mother and daughters who had escaped from a ghetto. They believed that the husband/father had died at the ghetto. Janina asked her mother for permission to bring them home and give them refuge. The Jewish family moved into a room at Janina’s home, which they never left for two years until the Warsaw uprising in 1944 for fear of persecution. Janina, her mother, brother, and sister Halina risked their lives for the sake of this family. Both sisters have received the title of ”Righteous Gentiles” for their efforts.
The Raoul Wallenberg Foundation launched an appeal for testimonies from around the world of Jews saved by Catholics during the Holocaust, coinciding with Pope Benedict XVI’s recent visit to the Holy Land. This foundation strives to preserve these memories for posterity. The Raoul Wallenberg Foundation’s programs include: Education, Research, Historic Preservation, Arts & Events, Campaigns, and Awards.
Raoul Wallenberg was a Swedish citizen who worked in Budapest, Hungary during WWII. In 1944, he issued passports and gave refuge for Jews escaping from persecution. His actions saved tens of thousands of Jewish lives during this time. In 1945, he was arrested by the Soviets and disappeared. He is believed to have been executed by the Soviets, though the Soviet government claimed he died of a heart attack. According to a Wikipedia article, a Swedish report in 2001 said: ‘There is no fully reliable proof of what happened to Raoul Wallenberg.’
It is important to document as much information, and to preserve as many testimonies as possible for future generations. Let us remember in our prayers all those who suffered either as victims or as rescuers. Let us continue to stand for ALL of those who cannot speak for themselves. May we be a people of Life and a people of Peace.
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