On March 7 in the Ochota district of Warsaw, Cultural Attaché Dan Hastings attended 75th anniversary commemorations to honor the heroism of Emanuel Ringelblum and the Wolski and Wysocki families. The event was organized by the Jewish Historical Institute and attended by Jarosław Sellin, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, the Mayor of the Ochota district, representatives of Jewish organizations, cultural institutions, and the diplomatic corps.
During German occupation of Warsaw during World War II, Emanuel Ringelblum, a well-known Jewish-Polish historian and social activist, founded the underground Warsaw Ghetto Archive “Oneg Shabbat” that clandestinely documented the life of Jews in the Ghetto. For two years, members of the Wolski and Wysocki families secretly housed Ringelblum, his wife, their young son – and 31 other Jews – in an underground bunker they had built in 1942 beneath the family’s garden greenhouse located at 81 Grojecka Street in Ochota.
The hideout bunker, called “Krysia” by the two families, was built by 32-year old Mieczysław Wolski. His 65-year old mother Małgorzata and sisters Halina and Wanda Wolska provided food, assistance, and contact to the outside world to the sheltered Jews, as did Wolski’s nephew, Janusz Wysocki. The bunker hideout was discovered and destroyed by the Germans in March 1944, and all of its members (34 in all)—including Ringelblum and his family—were murdered. Mieczysław and his nephew Janusz were also executed by the Germans, with only Mieczysław’s mother Malgorzata and sisters Halina and Wanda surviving.
In 1989, Małgorzata, Mieczysław, Halina, and Wanda Wolski, along with their relative Janusz Wysocki, were recognized as Righteous Among the Nations.
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