On September 8 at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, Charge d’Affaires Bix Aliu spoke at a luncheon honoring the heroism of Polish Righteous who saved Jews during the Holocaust and Nazi Germany’s occupation of Poland. Sponsored by the New York-based Jewish Foundation for the Righteous (JFR), the luncheon honored the estimated 55 Polish Righteous living in Warsaw (not all of whom could attend the luncheon for health reasons). The Chief Rabbi of Poland Michael Schudrich gave a benediction at the invitation of the luncheon’s organizer, JFR’s Executive Vice-President Ms. Stanlee Stahl. During his remarks, Charge d’Affaires Aliu told the Polish Righteous that “It is right that we remember and honor your heroism,” highlighting that “you provided an inextinguishable source of light – for all of humanity – in the darkest of times.” Other guests who addressed the Polish Righteous at the luncheon were Alexander Ben-Zvi, the newly arrived Israeli Ambassador to Poland, and Dr. Anna Stupnicka-Bando, President of the Polish Society of the Righteous and also a Polish honoree with the title of Righteous Among the Nations.
The JFR was established in 1986 by Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis to seek out and support the Righteous for their exceptional goodness. The organization provides monthly financial support to 265 aged and needy rescuers in 18 countries, including 146 in Poland, which has the greatest number of Righteous Among the Nations of any country in the world at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Center in Israel. The JFR also preserves the memory and legacy of the rescuers through its national Holocaust education program. The goal of the program is to educate middle and high school teachers about Holocaust history and provide resources to integrate this knowledge into their classrooms. Through this program, the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw sponsors Polish teachers to study in the United States. The JFR and the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw also partner on an annual conference held every October at the POLIN Museum to promote Holocaust education, research and remembrance.