Several Poles have received awards for helping Jews during World War II from an international organisation that aims to preserve the memory of the Holocaust.
The organisation, called From the Depths, named the awards after Antonina and Jan Zabinski, a Polish couple who helped Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II.
The awards were presented in the Warsaw zoo, where the Zabinskis hid Jews during the war when Poland was under German occupation.
The awards went to Poles who helped save Jews from the Holocaust but have not been honoured by Israel’s Yad Vashem institute in Jerusalem. Those honored included the son of a Polish man whose father hid Jews in his cellar, another man whose parents helped Jews hiding in the Warsaw zoo, and a Polish woman who saved a Jewish baby thrown out the window of a train bound for Auschwitz.
The awards were presented by the founder of the From the Depths foundation and the originator of the award, Jonny Daniels.
During the award ceremony, Polish presidential aide Andrzej Dera read out a letter from President Andrzej Duda. "I find it extremely important that we, contemporary Poles and Jews, Europeans and Americans, and finally people of good will throughout the world, should remember these great heroes of Poland and of all humanity," the president wrote in the letter. He also wrote he hoped the award would help "further restore the memory of Poles who saved Jews" during the war.
The ceremony attracted a host of Polish and foreign officials, including the Israeli ambassador to Poland, Anna Azari, and Sir Eric Pickles, the British government’s envoy on post-Holocaust issues. (PAP)