Jerusalem Working Group
for Recognition of Major Jewish Rescuers during the Shoah
POB 23718 Jerusalem 91236
International Rescuer Day 2005
Preliminary Press Release
M. C. Luckman
About two hundred people attended this event and we had some press there.
We are planning to do it again next year. Thank you for this excellent idea and the initiative to honor our rescuers.
Vice President, Hidden Child Foundation
Holocaust Saviors Honored by
BY MAURA YATES - Special to the Sun
January 20, 2005
When Jan Plotkowsky's father was taken away to be a groundskeeper at a concentration camp, the last thing he said to his 17-year-old son was that there was a chicken with two small chicks in his hayloft and that the young man should take care of them while his father was away.
Sylvia Richter was one of the chicks. Then 6 years old, she was hidden away with her mother and younger brother in the family's hayloft in Poland to escape the Nazis. The courageous young man dodged continuous raids of the hayloft to bring the family food and water for several weeks until the end of the Holocaust.
Yesterday, Ms. Richter told her story during a ceremony at the Anti-Defamation League's Turtle Bay headquarters, and expressed her gratitude to the young man who risked everything to keep her family alive. Sponsored by the Hidden Child Foundation, the event marked the first International Rescuers Day, which honors the bravery of those who hid Jewish children from the Nazis.
Before Ms. Richter rose to speak, a video clip of her emotional reunion several years ago with her rescuer, Jan Plotkowsky, was shown.
"These heroic people were in all the countries the Nazis occupied. They were educated and not educated, rich and poor, old and young, religious and not religious. But they were all committed to caring for others and saving precious life," said the vice president of the Hidden Child Foundation, Carla Lessing.
Hilde Goldberg was barely more than a child herself when she became a rescuer. As a nurse at a center for children whose parents had been rounded up in Amsterdam, she helped rescue between 40 and 50 children.
She and other nurses would pick one child each night to be smuggled out of the center under dark of night, wrapped in blankets with teddy bears to comfort them.
"It was too dark to see who it was, but
we handed the children over and the children went somewhere." Ms.
Goldberg said she doesn't know how many of the children survived, but she did
reunite with one of her
charges, Stefa Hasson, who was in the audience yesterday.
"I never thought that I had done anything heroic," Ms. Goldberg said.
"It was just something we did."
Professor Xu Xin, director of the Center for Jewish Studies at Nanjing University, spoke about the heroic actions of the late Feng-Shan Ho, who supplied thousands of visas to fleeing Jews in his role as Chinese consul general in Vienna, despite orders to stop.
Mr. Xin read from the diplomat's autobiography, in which he mentioned his role during the Holocaust. "I thought it only natural to feel compassion and want to help," Mr. Ho wrote. "From the standpoint of humanity, that is the way it should be."
January 20, 2005 Edition Section: New York