The Association of "Children of the Holocaust" in Poland
A short history ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†The First International Gathering of Hidden Children during World War Two was held in New York on 26 and 27 May 1991. Hanna Krall, who was present, describes its beginning in her book "Dancing at Someone Else's Wedding":
"Two thousand persons came, all around the same age of fifty. Men - relaxed, women - slim and in silk frocks, all clearly people of success. - We were brought up under foreign names and foreign religion, - said the lady who opened the meeting. - To this day we do not know what our real names are. We wanted terribly to be like others and so we kept silent. We are professionally successful and have set up families. We have never complained, but - then - who could we have complained to...?"
¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Two years earlier a¬†Los Angeles newspaper published a¬†Reader's letter who wrote she had been carried out of the ghetto as a¬†baby, hidden by a¬†Polish family, that she does not know who she is and has never told anyone about it, not even her husband. She was interested to find out whether there are any others of a¬†similar fate and asked them to phone her. In the first week 60 persons phoned from the USA - Jews who had been hidden in their childhood by Christians - Poles, Czechs, Yugoslavs, French, Belgians. Further calls were from people in Europe.
¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†They exchanged addresses...
We decided to meet and talk about ourselves - concluded the lady who opened the meeting... The first word I¬†wish to deliver to those who saved us: DZIńėKUJńė. Thank you, Merci, Spasiba. Dankuwel..."
¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†There were nineteen saved persons and three honoured by a¬†"Righteous Among the Nations" medal in the group of Polish participants in the Congress, who were sponsored by the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation. Before their New York stay came to an end they decided, after returning to Warsaw, to create an official organisation of children who had survived the Holocaust.
¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†The first founding meeting in which 45 persons participated was held on 27 June 1991 in the headquarters of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw. The Warsaw Province Court registered the Association "Children of the Holocaust" in Poland in the short space of three months, on 25 September 1991.
¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Professor Jakub Gutenbaum was the first chairperson, a¬†post he held for more than 9 years. In September 2000, the General Assembly of Delegates awarded him with the title of honorary life chairperson, while Zofia Zaks was elected official performing chairperson. Regrettably, she held the post for a¬†short period, suffering a¬†fatal car accident on 24 July 2001 Since September 2012 Joanna Sobolewska-Pyz. is chairperson of the Association of "Children of the Holocaust" in Poland.