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The Warsaw Voice » Comments » April 29, 2009
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From the Editor-in-Chief
April 29, 2009   
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Your presence today compels each of us to ask ourselves whether we would have done what you did. We can only hope that the answer is yes.

These words were directed by U.S. President Barack Obama at five Poles taking part in the Holocaust Day of Remembrance organized annually in Congress. The five are among a group of more than 6,000 Poles who have received the title of Righteous Among the Nations from the Yad Vashem Institute in Jerusalem for rescuing Jews during World War II. This was the first time that Poles took part in these ceremonies. A fact always worth reminding people about is that Poland was the only Nazi-occupied country where those hiding Jews were subject to the death penalty.

In recent days the Americans got another lesson in history thanks to the CBS broadcast of a film about Irena Sendlerowa (The Warsaw Voice has written about her on many occasions), who saved thousands of Jewish children in Warsaw during World War II thanks to her chain of people of goodwill.

Any evaluation of the past and one’s attitude toward the present is always the effect of a struggle between emotions and knowledge. The result is a stereotype that dominates our attitude for a long time. The image of Poland and Polish people that the Americans have is saturated with hues of anti-Semitism. These are unfortunately true and so strongly entrenched that they overshadow other parts of the picture of those tragic times. We need to realize with complete clarity that not one Jew would have been rescued in Poland if it had not been for the help of dozens of non-Jews risking their lives to save him or her.

“Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire.”
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