November 21, 2011

German rescuers will be awarded as “Righteous Among the Nations”

The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation is proud to announce the honoring of Paul and Helene (Leni) Pissarius on December 12, 2011 in Andernach Germany. The award of Righteous among the Nations will be presented in their honor to Werner Pissarius. This event is one of the results  of the IRWF’s tireless effort to honor the rescuers who saved Jews from persecution during World War II.

Through recent research conducted in Berlin and New York, the IRWF confirmed that Paul and Leni Pissarius sheltered Ernst Joseph and his parents, Leopold and Bertha, in their Berlin home for more than two years.

After losing their family business and the increased round-ups occurring in 1940-1941, Ernest feared for the safety of himself and his parents. A business associate, Oscar Materne encouraged them to contact Paul and Leni Pissarius, who agreed to help them. For the next two years, the Joseph family hid in the Pissarius’ home. While Ernst occasionally left to search for food and other supplies, his parents never left the apartment.

Leopold Joseph died of a stroke in February of 1945.  When Berlin surrendered on May 2, 1945, Ernst and his mother had been in hiding at the Pissarius home for 27 months. For decades, the heroic works of Paul and Leni Pissarius have gone unacknowledged, but now their day has come.