Reunited after 61 years were a Jewish woman who as a girl was hidden by a young Polish woman and her savior. The Polish woman, Joanna Zalucka, saved the life of Ruth Gruener who after being hidden survived the war and was able to rejoin her parents and move the US.

Gruener’s survival in their hometown of Lvov, Poland, was a miracle as well; she and her parents were the only ones from an extended family of 300 who survived the Holocaust.

Her father smuggled her out of the ghetto under his overcoat and placed her with Zalucka’s family because he expected to be slaughtered.

Ukrainian nationalists had already begun ransacking Jewish homes at night. Families disappeared in waves, presumably taken away to concentration camps.

“I heard screams every evening,” Gruener said. “To a child’s ears, it was just horrible.”

Ruth spent most of her eight months at Zalucka’s home just sitting in a chair, afraid to even look out the window from Joanna’s bedroom. Joanna, then 18, was in charge of keeping an eye on the girl.

When visitors came, the 8-year-old would hide under Joanna’s bed or duck into a trunk. Ruth spent so much time silent and immobilized that she had to relearn how to walk and speak normally. After eight months, Ruth was brought
to the home of another Christian family that hid her parents for another two years.

Needless to say, had Joanna been caught harboring a Jew, she would have been killed. And yet, she did it. Along with recognition, she is receiving pension and medical assistance from The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous. They are now on my list of charities to support this coming year.

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  • oh no! there are actually some polish people that are righteous??? But what we gonna do now? Isn’t it convenient to have one nation that we can blame in its entirety? OK this one is just an exception… ooops there is another one (! oh! this one saved more Jews then Schindler? Just another exception… oops another few?
    eeh! This not a problem for guys like the march of the Living. We need to have some guys there are all bad, right? Worse then Germans, right?

    Believe me I am the I am the last one to say that Poles are walking saints but anybody who says that there is one (or more) nation under the sun that is all bad is fooling him/herself and oversimplifying for the sake of a particular agenda.

  • I wish I knew which family smuggled my grandmother out of Bilgoraj. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be typing this right now.

  • A read a book some time ago that set out a number of stories of Christians who had saved Jews during the holocaust. One that stood out beyond all others was the story of Leokadia Jaromirska. What she went through to save a little girl over 4 years was beyond belief – every time that you thought the story couldn’t get worse, it did. Then, at the end of the war, the child was fortunate to be reunited with her father, but this meant leaving Jaromirska, who had no other children and nothing left of her life. It was the most gut-wrenching story I have ever read.

  • Michael’s grandmother was saved from the Nazis by a man whose father was Ukrainian and mother was Polish. This man also smuggled food to the Jews in the ghetto of Chernovtsy.

  • You see, I didnt want to bring it up as I promissed to MIchael let the word out. But now since his father spoke out I cant be silent anymore. We see evidently that Michael’s roots are from Poland (btw it is Czernowiec)which makes him sort of a bit lansman of mine. But only sort of because he constatntly tries to battle that part of his neshama and never stands up to defend our homeboys!
    And I m not even gonna mention … whatever.

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