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Warsaw. Radzymińska 2 – this is where Emanuel Ringelblum was hiding, plaque unveiled

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A plaque commemorating the time spent there by Emanuel Ringelblum, the archivist of the Warsaw Ghetto, was unveiled on the tenement house at 2 Radzymińska Street. In 1943, his escape from the labor camp in Trawniki was organized by Teodor Pajewski and Emilia Kossower. For saving Jews, Pajewski was awarded the Righteous Among the Nations medal, which was collected on Thursday by his son Wiesław.

Emanuel Ringelblum, the creator of the underground archive of the Warsaw Ghetto, ended up in an apartment in Praga after escaping from the German forced labor camp in Trawniki in the Lublin region. The mission was entrusted to Teodor Pajewski, pseudonym Szalony (probably it resulted from a series of daring actions he carried out for the underground) and Emilia (Szoszanie) Kossower. The dangerous operation was a success – Ringelblum reached Warsaw dressed as a railwayman. The apartment at Radzymińska, where he found shelter for several days, belonged to Pajewski’s sister-in-law – Stanisława Juszczyk. The names of all four, along with their images, were on the plaque unveiled on Thursday. The inscription on it reads: “Let this plaque testify to Polish-Jewish heroism and brotherhood in arms.”

– The story of Lieutenant Pajewski and his contacts with the Jewish National Committee, for which he performed special tasks (in consultation with the command of his Home Army unit), is a story that is suitable for a film script – said Monika Krawczyk, director of the Jewish Historical Institute during the ceremony. – The people we commemorate on this plaque are examples of ordinary people whose situation put them in the face of death. They showed courage by risking their lives. Their motivation wasn’t that we’d be unveiling a plaque 80 years later, it was that they just wanted to help.” Krawczyk noted that Pajewski and Kossower rescued Ringleblum “from the depths of the Holocaust, from a labor camp, and de facto death, organized by the SS.”

Unveiling of a plaque on a tenement house in PragaJHI

Medal after years

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Teodor Pajewski also helped many other people. He led Rachela Auerbach, Ringelblum’s collaborator in the Oneg Shabbat organization, and actor and director Jonasz Turkow out of the ghetto, whom he then hid in his apartment at 8 Brukowa Street. He placed pregnant Sura Goldman from Radzymin in the hospital, then took her with her child and husband, and organized another hiding places. He rescued Pola Elster from the labor camp in Poniatowa and also helped four escapees from the “Gęsiówka” prison.

This is only part of his merits, for which he was honored in 1977 Righteous Among the Nations medal. But for reasons not fully explained, he never picked it up (he was living in Coventry at the time, where he settled after the war). The story was completed 46 years later. In the building of the Jewish Historical Institute, the medal awarded by Yad Vashem was received by his son, Wiesław Pajewski.

“Gratitude and Respect”

– In the hard times of World War II, during the Holocaust, when Jews were persecuted and murdered, and human instincts were forgotten, Teodor Pajewski showed not only great courage, but above all simple decency. He extended a helping hand, giving the persecuted a chance to survive, and by doing so he deserved our gratitude and respect, said Shani Tayar, Israel’s deputy ambassador to Poland, as she presented the medal. She pointed out that Pajewski did not demand honor for his actions, so the full list of people he helped was not known.

The very moved son of the Righteous thanked Shania Tayar, Monika Krawczyk and Artur Podgórski, a historian of the Jewish Historical Institute, who researched his father’s fate.

The award was received by Wiesław Pajewski, Teodor’s sonJHI

Main photo source: JHI

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