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Israel salutes non-Jewish Poles for heroism and preserving Jewish memory

JTA

July 10, 2012 | 10:14 am

Jewish prisoners of Gęsiowka, a German-Nazi Camp in Warsaw liberated by Polish soldiers from Battalion "Zośka" of Home Army on Aug. 5, 1944. Photo by Juliusz Bogdan Deczkowski

Jewish prisoners of Gęsiowka, a German-Nazi Camp in Warsaw liberated by Polish soldiers from Battalion "Zośka" of Home Army on Aug. 5, 1944. Photo by Juliusz Bogdan Deczkowski

Israel in twin ceremonies honored non-Jewish Poles who rescued Jews during the Holocaust and those who have preserved Jewish memory since World War II.

Israeli Ambassador to Poland Zvi Rav-Ner on June 8 recognized five Polish women as Righteous Gentiles for risking their lives to save Jews during the Shoah. About 6,400 Poles have been honored by Yad Vashem as Righteous Gentiles, and more are recognized each year. Rav-Ner presented the awards to the grandchildren of the honorees, who are all deceased.

At a separate ceremony the same day, Rav-Ner presented the annual Preserving Memory awards to eight individuals and one organization in recognition of their efforts to preserve and care for Jewish heritage, culture and memory in Poland. It was the 15th edition of the awards, which have recognized more than 170 people throughout Poland.

This year’s honorees came from the provincial towns of Grodkow, Szczekociny, Pulawy, Seroczyn, Rzeszow and Jastrowie. They were honored for projects including cleaning up Jewish cemeteries, writing books about local Jewish history and organizing Holocaust commemoration events.

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