Polish Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich together with the Jewish community of Warsaw has initiated a program for sending care packages to the 31 residents of the Polish capital recognized by Yad Vashem as righteous among the nations.
The new initiative stems from a care package program already in place for needy members of the Jewish community in Warsaw, and has been expanded due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has led many elderly people in Poland, as in many other countries, to self-isolate due to the virulence of the disease among the aged.
“Many of these people don’t leave their houses because of the epidemic, and we wanted to help and make sure they were taken care of,” Schudrich told The Jerusalem Post.
One man recognised as “righteous among the nations” to receive a care package is Ryszard Witkowski, 94. Witkowski was an activist with the Polish Home Army resistance movement during the Nazi occupation of Poland, and he, his mother and his sister sheltered and rescued three Jews in their home during the Second World, helping one of them obtain false documents.
Since the events of the Holocaust began some 80 years ago, all righteous among the nations are now very elderly, many of whom have been negatively impacted by the need to stay home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The care packages provided by the Warsaw Jewish community include various staple food items, as well as tea and cookies, flowers, and a greeting card from the Jewish community.
Schudrich says he hopes to make the care-package initiative to the righteous among the nations a permanent program and distribute them every few weeks.