November 5, 2008
The Righteous Among Us
We have worked with the Israel-based organization, ATZUM, for many years. Their focus has been not only to help people who have been impacted by terror attacks, but also foreign workers and Righteous Gentiles – non-Jews whose brave actions have been recognized as saving the lives of Jews during the Second World War. Yael Rosen, ATZUM’s dedicated staff person who works with the Righteous Gentiles in Israel wrote me this morning with a story that was at once both poignant and astounding.
A.T., now an elderly woman living in Israel, was from Ukraine and worked as a housekeeper for a Jewish man and his children whose physical appearance allowed them to live unbothered by officials. When that situation was no longer safe, the man and his children moved to another city where they were able to successfully portray themselves as Poles. While in that city, they sent for A.T. who resumed her work as the family’s housekeeper. Prior to this move, A.T. had no idea that the family was Jewish. Once in the new location she continued to work for them acting as if she were the mother and wife of the family, and often protecting their true identity when need be. This arrangement continued until 1944 when the area was liberated. When the war was over the next year, she and the father formally acknowledged the extent of their relationship which had grown from one of convenience to actual love by marrying and migrating to Israel along with the father’s two sons.
Today, A. T. is an elderly woman who requires almost 24-hour care. Her income is meager and her family helps to the extent that they can but the cost of nearly round-the-clock care is beyond their means.
Yael explained A.T.’s situation and provided us with all of the relevant financial information. Could we help? How could we not? The Good People Fund has committed to underwriting several month’s of care for A.T…something which she most definitely deserves.