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Celebrating 31 Years at the JFR and Attending a Beatification Ceremony in Markova, Poland

September 7, 2023

Today was special. I marked my 31st year at The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous (JFR) and upon arriving in Warsaw, Poland, in the afternoon, I found myself at an outdoor evening concert honoring Polish righteous. I sat with Rabbi Michael Schudrich, Chief Rabbi of Poland, Dr. Anna Bando, a Righteous Gentile and President of the Polish Society of the Righteous, and nine Righteous who attended the luncheon the JFR held for Polish Righteous this past July. The concert had two large screens which projected images of the Righteous as well as photographs of Jews before and during the Holocaust. Nazi Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. Many at the concert, especially the Righteous, had lived through the war. Poland had just commemorated the German invasion days before. When these images appeared on the screens the audience was silent. It was a time for reflection. The concert was excellent!

I am in Poland to attend a beatification ceremony in Markova, Poland, this Sunday. The ceremony is honoring the UlmaFamily. The family hid 8 Jews until they were denounced. The Germans killed the Jews and the entire Ulma family, parents Jozef and Wiktoria, and their children. Here is a link to their rescue story.


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Preserving the Memory – Teaching the History – JFR 2018 European Study Program

The JFR’s European Study Program to Germany and the Netherlands was exceptional. The design and flow of the study program provided each of us the opportunity to explore and understand different aspects of the Holocaust in greater depth.

We met at the Frankfurt airport and traveled to Bad Camberg where we met Ann Mollengarden (Lerner Fellow 2003), from the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center in Birmingham, AL. Ann’s father’s family was from Bad Camberg. We met with Dr. Peter Schmidt, a local historian, who guided our group through the small town and provided history of what happened to both Ann’s family and the Jews of Bad Camberg during the Holocaust. We ended our first day at the Fritz Bauer Institute where we met with Professor Dr. Sybille Steinbacher, the Director of the Institute, and several members of her staff. We discussed Holocaust education in Germany at both the high school and university levels and we learned about the work of the Fritz Bauer Institute.

The next day we explored the Holocaust memorial to the Jews of Frankfurt. Professor Hayes gave a lecture on the horror of the round-up and deportation of Frankfurt’s Jews. We then traveled to Speyer and Worms, two of the three towns where Jews initially settled upon their arrival in Germany. During our visit with Dr. Susanne Urban, Managing Director of the ShUM Cities of the Rhine, which includes Speyer, Worms, and Mainz, she provided a grounding in the beginnings of the Jewish community in Germany. Dr. Urban gave background on the synagogue and the Jewish cemetery as she walked our group through Worms. Our visit to Speyer and Worms provided a firm base for an understanding of the development of Jewish life in Germany.

We traveled to Weimar, Buchenwald, Dora-Mittelbau, Westerbork, and Amsterdam. Each of these sites added different layers to our knowledge of camps – concentration, slave labor, and transit. Each site was distinct and different. Perhaps Dora-Mittelbau was the site that impacted the group the most. While one can describe going into the tunnels, words do not do justice to one’s feelings and personal experience. Dr. Stefan Hördler, Director of the Dora-Mittelbau site, spent the day with us and provided detailed background on the slave labor facility and the other sub-camps in the area. The mortality rate at Dora-Mittelbau was higher than at most other concentration camps; the average life expectancy of a new inmate was six to eight weeks.

Part of our Study Program followed Anne Frank’s journey during the Holocaust. She was born in Frankfurt in June 1929. We saw the small steel blocks for Anne, Margot, and their mother at the Holocaust Memorial Wall in Frankfurt near the Judengasse Museum. The Frank family fled Germany in 1933 for Amsterdam. We went to the Frank home in Amsterdam and to the Secret Annex attached to her father’s factory in Amsterdam. We went to Westerbork, to the site of the punishment block the Frank family was placed in upon their arrival in Westerbork, and we were in Bergen-Belsen where Anne and Margot died of typhus before the British liberated the camp on April 15, 1945. This study program did not visit Auschwitz where Anne and the others in hiding were deported to from Westerbork. However, this part of the Study Program afforded participants a deeper understanding of how life was for Jews trying to survive during the Third Reich.

We look forward to hearing from our Study Program participants over this coming school year to see how they have incorporated their time in Germany and the Netherlands into their Holocaust unit of study.

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Celebrating a Special Birthday

Frieda Adam

Beloved JFR rescuer Frieda Adam had a very special birthday this past Friday, May 4, as she celebrated her 94th year. In July, participants on the European Study Program to Germany and Poland will have the opportunity to meet Frieda. We wish this wonderful rescuer a very happy birthday, and we look forward to seeing her again in July. Click here to read more of her rescue story during the Holocaust.


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The Passing of a Beloved Rescuer


It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of beloved rescuer Wladyslaw Miazgowicz. Wladyslaw was born on June 28, 1911 and passed away on March 27, 2012 at the age of 101.  Wladyslaw and his wife Marta hid two Jewish sisters on their farm in Poland during the Holocaust, and were recognized as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem in 1998. The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous supported the Miazgowicz’s since 1998.

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Keeping our Rescuers Warm

We at the JFR have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and generosity that our charity knitting project has elicited from people throughout the United States. This project kicked off in early 2011, with the intent to accept donations of homemade scarves and hats to send to our beloved rescuers during those cold Eastern European winters. Nothing could have prepared us for the response that we got! To date, we have sent out over 1,000 scarves to our rescuers! We have been continually touched by the kindness of our donors. We have received donations from a variety of individuals, groups, families, and organizations from a multitude of backgrounds. We have found that this project has helped to bring people together through the formation of knitting groups and social gatherings with this common goal in mind. As a result, all of our rescuers have received a homemade scarf, and we are no longer accepting donations at this time. We have received many letters of thanks from our rescuers, expressing how deeply touched and grateful they were for this unexpected and welcome gift. We at the JFR feel very fortunate that with the help of some very dedicated and generous knitters, all of our rescuers have had a warmer winter.

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Remembering a Beloved Rescuer

It is with great sadness that we report the death of Monsignor Beniamino Schivo. Monsignor passed away on January 30, 2012 at the age of 101. The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous (JFR) provided Monsignor with monthly financial support due to his rescue of the Korn family during the Holocaust. Monsignor Schivo rescued the Korn family by hiding them in various locations throughout Italy during the war. In 1986, Monsignor Beniamino Schivo was declared a Righteous Gentile by Yad Vashem. Monsignor Schivo was a very special man who will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time. May his memory forever be a blessing.

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Remembering a Righteous Man

It is with great sadness that we report the death of Jerzy Bielecki, a Righteous Gentile,who risked his life to save Cyla Cybulska, a Polish Jew.  Jerzy died on Thursday, October 20, 2011, at the age of 90 in Poland.  Jerzy had one of the few successul escapes from Aushwitz.  The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous (JFR) provided Jerzy with monthly financial support for years.  I had the honor and priviledge of meeting Jerzy in his home in Nowy Targ, Poland.  We met again in Auschwitz when Jerzy meet with a group of JFR Alfred Lerner Fellows.

Jerzy was a very special man who will be greatly missed.  Our thoughts and prayers are will his family on this sad day.  May his memory forever be a blessing.

Jerzy Bielecki and Stanlee Stahl

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Launching Ask a Rescuer

To usher in the new school year, the JFR has launched a new program for students – the Ask a Rescuer program.  The program invites students to submit questions to rescuers, who in turn answer them.  Students then receive an e-mail response, and the question and response will be posted on our website.  This is a wonderful way for students to learn, first-hand, the stories of modern-day heroes.

So far nine of our rescuers have graciously agreed to answer questions.  To read some of the questions and responses already asked, and to learn more about the program, please visit the Ask a Rescuer section of our website.  We look forward to hearing your questions!

Anna Stupnicka Bando, one of the rescuers participating in Ask a Rescuer

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Knitting for Rescuers

After a summer hiatus, the JFR’s Charity Knitting Project will be starting again this fall.  Wondering how you can get involved?  Knit or crochet scarves for our rescuers, mail them to the JFR office, and we will distribute them to the rescuers.  To access more information about the Charity Knitting Project, including an online photo album of the rescuers wearing their scarves, click here.

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Winning awards

We have some very exciting news regarding our newest documentary, Reunion 2010: Life of My Life.  The film won the Silver Telly, which is the highest Telly film honor, in the categories of History/Biography films and Charitable/Not-for-profit films! It also won the Bronze award for Education!

Wladyslaw Misiuna, rescuer, with Sara Marmurek, one of the five Jewish women he saved. Life of My Life documents their story.

 To purchase Reunion 2010: Life of my Life click here.  To read Wladyslaw Misiuna’s story of rescue, click here.

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Welcoming a survivor

On Wednesday, May 4, 2011 survivor Ursula Selig Lichtblau, who was rescued by Monsignor Beniamino Schivo (click here to read his story of rescue) visited The High School for Law and Public Service and shared her story with 10thgrade students at the school.  Neil Garfinkle, who teaches law, global, and United States history wrote movingly about her visit, saying, “Her [Ursula’s] energy and her passion was something I did not expect, nor could I have ever imagined.  Her stories, sense of humor, and personality, not only won over our entire faculty, Assistant Principal and Principal, but they also had my students riveted to their seats. Everyone in my school is still talking about Ursula and wondering if she will be available next year as well.” 

Ursula (left) with a teacher


Ursula with school faculty

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Reading notes of gratitude

Here is rescuer Pápai Katalin from Hungary with her grandson, wearing a scarf knitted by Mary Ann Jorgensen. 

We also received a very moving note from Pápai Katalin, sent to Agnieszka Perzan, our Senior Program Associate in Rescuer Support.  The note was written for her by her granddaughter and translated from Hungarian by one of our translators:

Dear Agnieszka Perzan,

My Mother is 92 and she has difficulties to see, therefore I am the one to answer your kind letter.   She was happy to receive the scarf knitted by Mary Ann Jorgensen.   She is very kind to put an effort into making it.   Attached we send the picture we took of her.   We hope she will still have a chance to wear it during the next winter. 

All the best,

Katalin Pápai

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Knitting for Rescuers

The JFR Charity Knitting Project has had tremendous success!  Thanks to our wonderful knitters and crocheters we have sent scarves to 117 rescuers in 7 countries.  Many of the rescuers have sent photos of themselves wearing the scarves.  Below are a few of the most recent photos we have received: 

Stefania Wilkosz-Filo, Poland

Irena Walulewicz, Poland

Reverend Antoni Bradlo, United States (originally from Poland)

 Click here to learn more about the Charity Knitting Project and visit our facebook page to view more photos!

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Observing Holocaust Remembrance Day

On Sunday May 1, Holocaust Remembrance Day, I was the keynote speaker at the State of New Jersey Annual Yom Hashoah Observance Ceremony, which was sponsored in conjunction with the Jewish Federation of Greater Middlesex County.  The theme of the ceremony, titled “Commemoration of Holocaust & Heroism”, was rescue during the Holocaust.  I spoke about the rescue of Jews during the Holocaust by non-Jews with a focus on rescue in Poland.

It is imperative that each year, when we remember those who perished during the Holocaust, we also remember those few who risked their lives to save others.  Part of never forgetting the Holocaust is keeping alive the legacy of these individuals whose inner compasses led them to selflessly save another human being.

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