The Righteous Among the Nations
Poles are the largest group among the “Righteous Among the Nations”, i.e. citizens of various countries who rescued Jews during the Holocaust. This honorable award, granted by the Israeli Yad Vashem Institute, was given to over 6700 Poles, i.e. 25% of all the Righteous.
Irena Sendler is one of them. During World War II, the network of people and organizations that she co-founded made an attempt at saving about 2500 Jewish children. In October 1943, she was arrested by the Gestapo, but “Żegota” managed to free her. Shortly before her death (she died in 2008), she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Among the Righteous there are also Antonina and Jan Żabiński, a Polish married couple who, for several years, hid hundreds of Jews from the Warsaw ghetto in the area of the Warsaw Zoo. This story is shown in the American film “The Zookeeper’s Wife” (2017).