Forgotten heroine recognised as Righteous Among Nations

A Polish woman who saved the lives of two young Jewish women during the Holocaust after they had survived three rounds of extermination by German and Ukrainian killing squads in the Włodzimierz Wołyński ghetto has been recognised as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem.

Janina Zawadzka offered life-saving shelter to Mania Tisch and her cousin Popa in a stable on her property after the two women had escaped the final round-up and murder of Jews in the town which is now called Volodymyr Volynski in western Ukraine.

The recognition was confirmed at the end of last year by Yad Vashem after the efforts of Adena Astrowsky, the granddaughter of Mania Tisch (later Mania Lichtenstein).

In a letter dated 30 November 2020, Yad Vashem said: “We are pleased to announce that the Commission for Designation of the Righteous has decided to award the title of “Righteous Among the Nations” to Janina Zawadzka, for help rendered to Jewish persons during the period of the Holocaust at the risk of her life.”

Astrowsky, who lives in Arizona, recently published a book about her grandmother’s experiences, Living among the Dead: My Grandmother’s Holocaust Survival Story of Love and Strength.

She told TFN: “At a time when most people lacked a moral compass, a few people, like Janina Zawadzka, exhibited extraordinary bravery at the risk of their own lives. Those like Janina were the Righteous Among the Nations.”

She added: “My grandmother said that she was an absolutely lovely woman with a heart of gold. She said that she really had a lot of pity for the Jews and would cry over what was being done to them.”

Mania stayed in contact with Janina after the war by exchanging letters, but eventually the contact broke off. Neither Mania nor her granddaughter know what happened to Janina in the years after the war. Mania Lichtenstein died in 2017 in the United States.

Janina will now join over 6,600 other Poles who have received the recognition. This is over a quarter of the total number of awards, and more than in any other country.


Subscribe to EJC newsletter

Get EJC's bi-weekly newsletter, including the latest statements and news from the European Jewish communities, direct to your inbox.

European Jewish Congress will use the information you provide on this form to contact you. We will treat your information with respect and will not share it with others. By clicking Subscribe, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.


EJC President Kantor praises the Pope for impromptu visit to Holocaust survivor

EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor praised Pope Francis who visited a Holocaust survivor in her Rome apartment to pay tribute to all those who suffered from what he called “the craziness of Nazi populism.”

At IHRD event, Dr. Moshe Kantor calls on EU member states to ensure that Holocaust survivors receive COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible

During a joint International Holocaust Remembrance Day event, co-hosted with the European Commission, EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor called on the member states of the European Union to ensure that Holocaust survivors have access to a Covid-19 vaccine as soon as possible.

EJC to host joint International Holocaust Remembrance Day event with the European Commission

The European Jewish Congress, will host an online event marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day on 25 January 2021 at 16:00 CET in cooperation with the European Commission.

The event will feature EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor, Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President of the European Commission, and Holocaust survivor Tomi Reichental.

EJC welcomes practical handbook on the IHRA definition of antisemitism

EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor welcomed the publication of a handbook for the practical use of the working definition of antisemitism of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) as a key tool in the fight against anti-Jewish hatred in Europe.