How an ordinary Polish farmer labored extraordinarily to save a dozen Jews. And how a Brooklyn woman spent decades lobbying for his Righteous Gentile honor.
Sometime in the summer of 1942, as the Nazi noose tightened around the Jews of Poland, Stanislaw Grocholski, a poor farmer who lived in a small village in the southeast part of the country, heard a disturbing rumor — some members of a Jewish family in the region, an old friend among them, had been spotted in one of the nearby fields.
Grocholski, a church-going Catholic, knew what the rumor meant — the Jews had escaped from their nearby town, Urzejowice, on the eve of a “resettlement” order and were hiding to save their lives.
Wartime leader of Ukrainian church sheltered many Jews, but decades-long campaign has not brought Yad Vashem’s highest honor.
In the late summer of 1942, 7-year-old Leon Chameides accompanied his father on an hour-long truck ride. As the Nazis tightened their grip over the Ukraine, the two journeyed from a village in the western part of the country where the Chameides family, Jews from Poland, had found refuge with relatives, to Lvov, the major city in that region. After stepping down from the truck, father and son walked to a towering building on Mount Jur, in the center of the city, where they knocked on the door of Ukraine’s Greek Catholic Church headquarters.