(continued from previous post)
In the previous post I included a photo of Henry and his best friend Jacob Haubenstock and discussed the designation by Yad Vashem as ‘Righteous Among the Nations.’ I believe in honoring those people, especially ordinary people who step forward, to save others at the risk of their own lives. As a society we need heroes to look up to, and be reminded of people who do the right thing. It reminds me of a middle-school poster similar to ‘It’s still the right thing, even if no one is doing it.’
A recent news article out of Poland about 10 Poles being honored posthumously as new RATN, triggered the thought, and a lingering question. What about Poles like Henry, who suffered 3 1/2 years in the camps? He survived under great duress. Outside of Poland, who honors the ordinary folks, or 20,000 Polish army officers murdered in the Katyn Forest, or the 200,000 Warsaw citizens in the Warsaw Uprising? One of my driving motivations on this project is reminding the world about the 3 million other Poles murdered under Hitler and Stalin. That number doesn’t account for those adults and children abducted as slave labor. I know be I never heard these numbers or facts until I started researching Poland as part of understanding Henry’s story. It’s a cliche, but it’s been a real ‘eye-opener.’
Why can’t he and other Poles be honored as brave survivors, just as we honor Veterans in this country? There’s something inherently unfair by this historical omission. He always said ‘I’m nobody special. I was lucky and I knew someone.’ I’ve dedicated this blog and writing to just that concept.