September 11, 2008

Stacha, a catholic heroine in Warsaw


The last person to receive the recognition as a Rightous among the Nations was Stanislawa (Stacha) Slawinska, a polish catholic housewife who saved ten persons from the gueto in Warsaw, during World War Two.

A few months ago, Esfira Rappaport de Maiman, 94 years old, went to the office of the Raul Wallenberg Foundation in Jerusalem in order to get the recognition of her rescuer.

Esfira was born in Lodz and she could scape from the gueto before its destruction.

Stacha hid Esfira in her house located in Grodzisk Mazowieki, 30 kilometers from Warsaw. With this action she put her life and her family’s in risk, because nacism treated as criminals to those who helped jews.

When the war was ended, Esfira kept in touch with Stacha and she could help her financialy. First from Germany and then from Peru, where she lived between 1948 and 1972. That year she inmigrated to Israel. But later on she lost contact with her.

Although she supposed that Stanislawa had died – It happened on June 9, 1971-, she had a nephew, Roman (Romek) Slawinski, who even though was just a kid during those cruel times colaborated with his aunt, in the mission of saving jews and also in other activities of the polish resistence.

International Campaign

Immediately, the Wallenberg Foundation launched an international campaign, asking through the polish media, to find Romek. But they found him in another way. In April of that year, with the help of a worker from the polish embassy in Buenos Aires, Isabella Matusz, they made a contact with someone from the municipality of Grodzisk Mazowieki.

In two weeks they called and said that they found him. Then there was a phone call from Romek to Esfira. That was the way he could give a testimony about his aunt activities.

The Foundation prepared an expedient and it was presented to the Yad Vashem Tribunal, which during the first days of September gave the recognition to Stacha, through the tittle of Righteous Among the Nations.