The Mystery of Memory "One Land - Two Temples"
The idea of the Mystery was inspired by the fact that the Grodzka Gate was a place which used to link the Jewish town with the Christian one – it was a symbolic place of meeting between these two towns.
Participants of the Mystery stood in the place of the outlines of the foundations of the church and the synagogue, and along a several-hundred-meter long road linking two temples, which runs through the Grodzka Gate. On one side of the Gate – where the Jewish town had been, the Holocaust Survivors stood, on the other side – where the Christian town had been – the Righteous Among the Nations.
At the beginning of the Mystery, Archbishop Józef Życiński and Rabbi Michael Schudrich, who stood in the places of the demolished temples, dug, at the same time, a handful of soil. The soil in clay vessels was handed round by the Righteous on one side of the Gate, and by the Holocaust Survivors on the other. Each of them told his/her story in a few sentences. They were heard by all participants thanks to loudspeakers placed on both sides of the Gate.
When the vessels got to the Grodzka Gate, Priest Romuald Jakub Weksler-Waszkinel, a Jewish boy rescued from the Holocaust who, unaware of his origin, became a Catholic priest, mixed the soil. A young girl from Lublin and her peer from Israel planted two vine shrubs in the mixed soil: one from Lublin, the other brought from Israel.
Stories of the Holocaust Survivors and of the Righteous
Icchak Karmi: My name is Icchak Karmi, previously Wajnryb. I was born in Lublin, at Lubartowska street, number 61. Here I attended the primary school. On September 6, 1939, after the memorable bombing of Lublin, following the order of the city defense commander, my family went to the East, where we were caught by surprise by the Red Army. We refused to accept the Soviet passports, so we were exiled to Siberia from where, after General Sikorski’s pact, we were released. Than we went to Kazakhstan. In 1946, I returned to Poland due to the repatriation, and in 1950 I went to Israel. There I graduated from the officer school and served in the army as the Lieutenant Colonel. Then I graduated from the university and set up a family. I have a wife, two sons, grandchildren. I am deeply moved by today’s ceremony. I returned to Lublin for the first time since 1939.
David Efrati: I was born in Warsaw. I survived the German occupation in the ghetto. I escaped from the train to Treblinka several times, I ran from Trawniki, then I lived as a Pole in Lvov and Tarnopol. Today I live in Israel and work in the Yad Vashem Institute in the commission of the Righteous Among the Nations. I sincerely thank the society of Lublin for organizing this ceremony.
Wanda: War, a cruel time, deprived me of identity and Oksana became Wanda. I owe my life to a Pole, a foster father, who saved both me and my mother. If he hears me, and he died three years ago, I would like to pay homage to him and to thank all the noble, heroic people, who not only saved lives, but were able to raise us up and give love like my father did. I also want to thank the organizers of today’s ceremony, which I will remember for many years.
Ludwik B.: My name is Ludwik. I was born in Warsaw in 1933. I was moved to the ghetto with my family but in 1941 I escaped. I survived thanks to nuns, who hid me in orphanage in Turkowice. In 1948, I was moved to Lublin. Here I learned and set up a family. I have three sons and a daughter.
Krystyna Budnicka: My name is Krystyna Budnicka, before the war – Hena Kuczer. I was born in Warsaw as the youngest, eighth child in a religious, Jewish family. I was the only one of the 14-people family who survived by hiding in the Warsaw ghetto, in a bunker – I escaped through the sewers. On the Aryan side, I survived in a monastery. I am very happy that this ceremony is organized to honor the life and martyrdom of the Jewish nation.
Maria: I am Maria. As a 6-year-old child I survived the Holocaust and moments of fear in the East. I am very happy that this ceremony is taking place and I wish with all my heart that there are no more wars and that people respect each other. Then the world will be beautiful.
Jan: I am Jan, I also survived the Holocaust. I was in a camp, and then Mr. and Mrs. Stankiewicz helped me.
Dov Biran: I came from Israel. I am a son of Shandela Ajdelsson of Warsaw, and Mundek Blumenfeld of Rawa Ruska. My mother lost a husband and a child during the war. My father lost a wife and three children. After the liberation, my parents married and went to Israel, where I was born. I am the second generation after the Holocaust and I must not forget about it.
Rina Shiponi: I come from Italy. I was born in Florence. I survived the Holocaust as a child. I was saved by nuns. They raised me up, taught me and thanks to that I can be here today. My whole family died during the Holocaust.
Roman Litman: I was born in 1933 in Łęczna. After the breakout of the war, my parents fled from Germans to the East. In 1940, we were exiled to Siberia, to the Altay mountains. In 1941, after General Sikorski’s pact, we were given Polish citizenship again and we went to Kazakhstan. After the war, we returned to Lublin where I live with my family.
Meir Nitzan: Shalom. I survived the atrocities of the Second World War in Romania. I was saved from unavoidable death in Auschwitz, by the liberation of Bucharest on August 26, 1944. My eyes saw the enormity of people’s suffering. We must not forget the Nazi crimes, and the people, who were swallowed by this terrible war.
Bazyli Chmielewski: I was born in Rawa Ruska, in Lvov province of those days. Nowadays, this city lies 5 km from the Polish border. In the time of war, I helped Jewish people. They were: Post Klara - husband’s name Rygier, now she lives in Monachium. Post Efraim – lives in New York. Post Dawid – lives in Israel. Post Abe - lives in Israel. Graff Herman – died 14 years ago. Graff Regina – his wife, lives in Tel Aviv. Graff Rachela – Herman`s sister, is dead. Klak Abraham - address unknown. Hoh Mendele - address unknown. Lewin – the wife of Moses Lewin, address unknown. Diller Lazarus – address unknown. Diller Saba – address unknown.
Stefan M: My name is Stefan. During the war, I lived in Nowy Sącz. When the Germans eradicated the ghetto, my Jewish friends asked me to help their children. I took two girls out from the ghetto – Berta Korenman and Helena Szancer. I hid them for a short time and than I sent them to continue their escape. They were running from death. Both of them survived the war. Helena went to Israel in 1968. Berta Korenman set up a family and lived in Lublin, where she died and was buried in 1992.
Wanda Michalewska: My name is Wanda Michalewska. I saved a little girl whom I brought home with me. She lived with us from 1942 to 1948. Her name was Róża Bejman and she came from Lublin. Now she lives in Israel, she has a family and four children.
Franciszek Kiryluk: I lived in the rural area, where I sheltered two children – a 13-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl. After the war, they left the country with my help. They both live in Brazil now. The boy’s name was Chaim Romysz and the girl’s name was Hinda. I cannot remember her last name because she did not live in this area.
Helena Kuśmierz: My name is Helena Kuśmierz, family name Cygan. During the Nazi occupation, me, my brother and my parents saved a Jewish girl - Sara Zylbersztajn, family name Rajs and my uncles, my mother’s brothers, lost their lives because of rescuing Jews.
Tadeusz Stankiewicz: I have arrived from Warsaw, where I live. I represent my parents, who were decorated. I also helped to hide Jews, because I was old enough at that time. We managed to save about six people, including Mr. Jan, who is here with us today. It all happened near Opole Lubelskie, where my father was a forester. My parents helped Jews in the name of love for a neighbor. I regret that they did not live to attend this ceremony.
Edward Cyganiewicz: In February 1942, with my parents and my sister Helena, we hid a Jewish girl - Sara Rajs, currently Zylbersztajn. When we were denounced, the girl was moved to Warsaw, where she survived the war. After the war she returned to Lublin, set up a family and gave birth to 4 children and in 1950 she moved to Israel. I visited her in 1988. She prepared a grand party for us with her large family.
Zbigniew Bytniewski: My wife, Danuta Lisicka, who, during the occupation, lived with her parents in a forester’s house in Radzyńsk province, hid a Jewish girl – Ewa Wasserman, who now lives in Israel.
Janina Zajączkowska: I come from Wołyń, from a town called Andresówka, near Włodzimierz Wołyński. We hid a 6-person family brought to us from the ghetto by my brother. They were hiding in an underground vault dug under the kitchen. They all survived, and after the war they lived in Canada. They were: Dawid Wapniarski, his wife Maria, their children Regina, Szymon, Jankiel and also Maria’s brother, I cannot remember his name. Mr. and Mrs. Wapniarski are already dead, Maria’s brother too, probably. We have an occasional contact with their children.
Ryszard Zajączkowski: During the war, I lived in Włodzimierz Wołyński, where, with my mother Regina, we hid (from 1942, to the liberation) refugees from Lvov – Mrs. Irena Franziak and her 2-year-old daughter Ania. My and my wife’s family saved 8 Jewish people.
Zofia Dygdała: During the occupation, I helped the members of the Majster family. One of them still lives in Warsaw. I am deeply moved by today’s ceremony. I would like such events to take place more often, to teach the youth how to live in understanding and love, so that there is no hatred and distrust.