[ An End to Intolerance (Volume 5 -- June 1997) ]

Zegota: The Polish Underground Rescue Organization

By Jen Insardi
Cold Spring Harbor High School
New York, USA

During German occupation of Poland, the Poles were told that if they helped the Jews, they, themselves, would be killed. However, that did not stop some Poles.

Rada Pomocy Zydom, Council for Aid to Jews, was an underground organization (Zegota) in occupied Poland that was in operation from October, 1942 until the liberation of Jews escaping the ghettos in Warsaw, Krakow, and surrounding areas.

[ Jewish Family in Poland ]
Jewish Family -- Poland 1951
(T. Wisniewski)

Shelter for the children escaping the ghettos was provided in convents and monasteries as well as in homes of Christian families. False identity papers had to be made, food provided, children taught to speak Polish, and Catholic prayers memorized in case they were questioned by the Nazis. About 4,000-6,000 children and adults were saved by this Polish-Jewish underground organization.

Of those recognized as the "Righteous" in Yad Vashem, the Holocaust center in Israel, for saving Jews, forty percent are Poles. Records show that thousands of Poles will never be recognized because both the Poles and the Jews perished in efforts of rescue.

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