ADL HONORS CHRISTIAN RESCUERS OF JEWS DURING THE HOLOCAUST
WHO HAD THE 'COURAGE TO CARE'
New York, NY, November 22, 1996...More than seventy people live today
due to the heroism and humanity of Renia Kozminska and Jerzy Kozminski,
a Polish mother and son who risked their lives to save an entire Jewish
family from the Warsaw Ghetto. The Kozminskis were honored with the Anti-Defamation
League (ADL) Courage to Care Award during a moving ceremony at the recent
ADL National Commission Meeting.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, whose own life was saved during
the Holocaust when his Catholic nanny hid him in Poland throughout the war,
presented the award. "We determined," said Mr. Foxman, "that
the greatest antidote to apathy and hate is to embrace, to encourage, to
project man's humanity to man in contrast to man's inhumanity to man."
Witnessing the award ceremony were 40 descendants of the Glazer family,
saved by the Kozminskis. As Mr. Foxman looked around the room at the Glazer
offspring, he said, "This extraordinary opportunity is made so much
more wonderful by the fact that we can together turn from this side of the
room to that side of the room to witness the greatest handiwork second to
God's, the gift of life."
David H. Strassler, ADL National Chairman, relayed to those present the
story of their survival.
It was April 18, 1943, the night of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, 17-year-old
Jerzy Kozminski was selling food and necessities to the Jews in the ghetto,
when he was approached by Samuel Glazer and asked to save his family from
the Nazis. A few days later, Jerzy returned to the ghetto with his mother,
Renia Kozminska, and together they smuggled out all 13 members of the Glazer
family one by one, in a horse and buggy.
The Kozminskis harbored the Glazers in the basement of their home on the
outskirts of Warsaw, caring for the family for over a year. Renia shopped
for food under gunfire, carrying it back to them in a false bottom she built
in her infant son's stroller. Jerzy, who was active as a courier in the
Polish underground and in organized sabotage operations, was captured by
the Germans and tortured but revealed nothing about the 13 Jews hiding in
his family's basement. Jerzy was sent to Auschwitz and from there to Mauthausen
where he was liberated by the Americans in early May 1945.
"By defying the murderous Nazi Regime," said Mr. Strassler, "these
men and women who saved Jews at the risk of their lives and the lives of
their families demonstrated that good continues to live where evil may reign....The
story of rescue, like the story of survival, resistance, persecution, and
indifference, is a crucial part of what happened during the Holocaust era.
Jerzy Kozminski accepted the award on behalf of himself and his mother
who, now in her late eighties, resides in Tel Aviv and has converted to
Judaism. Speaking in Polish he said, "In a world full of materialism,
falsehood and hatred, I will remember this to the end of my life."
Riva Berelson, an ADL National Commissioner and the niece of Samuel Glazer,
said, "This past summer we went to Poland...and during that time I
followed the stories that I had been told since I was a child about a man
who was a hero in my life because he had saved the sole grandparent I had.
I met Jerzy and it was probably one of the most fulfilling things I had
experienced.... I want to thank you Jerzy...for being the hero that you
After the war, Jerzy helped the Glazers resettle from their home in Lodz
to Berlin. Glazer family members settled in Israel, Buenos Aires, Argentina
and the United States. Due to the Kozminskis' courageous actions during
history's darkest hour, over 70 people around the world live today.
Both Renia and Jerzy have been recognized by Yad Vashem, the Museum of
the Holocaust in Israel as Righteous Among the Nations.
This unique Courage to Care award was initiated by ADL in 1987 to honor
rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust. The award is a plaque with miniature
bas-reliefs depicting the backdrop to the rescuers' exceptional deeds --
the Nazi's persecution, deportation and murder of millions of Jews. Noted
sculptor Arbit Blatas created these and similar plaques for the Holocaust
Memorial in Paris and for display in the old ghetto in Venice, Italy.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.