Aleksandra Cybulska, a Polish woman who will turn 100 0n November 11, and her husband Kazimierz, who died in 2002 at the age of 94, were presented on Thursday with the Righteous Among the Nations award for risking their lives to save Jews during World War II.
Due to Cybulska age and health, the award was presented at a ceremony in Gdynia, northern Poland, by the deputy Israeli ambassador to Poland, Ruth Cohen-Dar.
The couple was recognized for rescuing Sonia Berkowicz who was born on 15 September 1933 in Orbis, Poland. The Catholic couple was friends of Sonia’s parents before the war broke out. The entire family of the girl was deported by the Nazi Germans to the ghetto in Klecko, Belarus, but in the spring of 1942, Sonia and her brothers knocked on the Cybulskas’ door in the village of Jakszyce and asked for food. The couple housed and fed the children for several days but the boys returned to the ghetto and were taken to the death camps.
The website of POLIN, the Jewish Museum in Warsaw, wrote that with the help of a local priest, Sonia was given a false certificate declaring that she had been baptized a Christian under the name Zofia Flejow. She remained with the Cybulskas until 1943.
After staying with another family for a short time, she returned to the Cybulskas. staying with them until 1946, when she was handed over to a Jewish organization that rescued Jewish orphans after the war.
Sonia Liberman (née Berkowicz) is 84. She and her three children live in the United States.
The Righteous Among the Nations award is the highest Israeli civilian distinction. Recipients receive a medal with a quote from the Talmud saying: “Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire.” In total, 26,513 people had received the honor as of January 1 this year. Around a quarter (6,706) of the recipients have been Poles.
Source: Israel in the News