When my parents died, they left behind many puzzles. One of the most profound is of the woman who hid them for a year and a half in the cellar of her villa in Grochów, Warsaw.
On October 12th, 2010 at the Embassy of the Republic of Hungary in Warsaw will take place the presentation of the new postcard of the Polish Post: „Righteous Among the Nations: Henryk Sławik and József Antall”. The introduction to the presentation will be delivered by Grzegorz Łubczyk, former ambassador of the Republic of Poland to Budapest. This event will be connected with a meeting with Prof. Csaba G. Kiss, author of the book “Tam na północy – Węgierska pamięć Polskiego Września” (“Out There in the North – Hungarian Memory of the Polish September”), edited together with the late Andrzej Przewoźnik. The meeting will be moderated by Prof. Andrzej Nowak.
Henryk Sławik, called “the Polish Wallenberg”, is a hero of the Second World War and a Righteous Among the Nations. It is estimated that Sławik rescued about 5,000 Jews. He was an activist of the Polish Socialist Party and a journalist. In 1919-1921 he took part in the Silesian Uprisings. After Poland’s defeat in 1939 as chairman of the Citizen Committee for Polish Refugees in Hungary he organized help for military internees and civilian refugees. In cooperation with József Antall, representative of the Hungarian government, he provided them with false papers that saved their lives in numerous cases. Together with his collaborator Henryk Zimmermann, Sławik also helped Jews and organized false documents for them, testifying their so-called “Aryan” origin. Together with József Antall, Zdzisław Antoniewicz, the prelate Miklós Beresztóczy, bishop of Vác – Rev. Dr. Árpád Hanauer, and above all primate Jusztinián cardinal Serédi, he founded an orphanage in the town of Vac near Budapest– Jewish children had been hiding there.
For his heroic deeds during the Second World War József Antall was honored with the Commander’s Cross with Star Polonia Restituta and the medal “Righteous Among the Nations”. His son was the first Prime Minister of democratic Hungary. Henryk Sławik was arrested in 1944, after the Nazis entered Hungary. During the investigation he acted in a heroic way, taking all the responsibility for saving Jews upon himself and did not admit he knew Antall. He was probably executed in August 1944 in the Nazi camp Mauthausen. According to witnesses, before he died he shouted: “Poland Has Not Yet…!”. Henryk Sławik was posthumously awarded with the title of the Righteous Among the Nations in 1977. More about Henryk Sławik.