US/World News

Roman Polanski’s Holocaust saviors named Righteous Among the Nations

(JTA) – Israel is set to honor the couple who rescued Jewish film director Roman Polanski from the Holocaust. A grandson of Stefania and Jan Buchała will accept the medal naming them posthumously as Righteous Among the Nations, a title that Israel confers on non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews from the Nazis, Haaretz reported. The ceremony will take place in Poland next week.

The Buchalas hid Polanski, then 10 years old, from 1943 to the end of World War II after his father smuggled him out of the Krakow ghetto. Yad Vashem, Israel’s state Holocaust museum, recognized the Buchałas’ actions last year. The couple died in the 1950s.

Last month, Israel also presented the medal to the descendants of four couples in neighboring Lithuania: Stanislava and Juozas Gaižauskas; Palionė and Juozas Sturonai; Petronėlė and Pranas Šimka and Petronė and Vincent Pocius. The ceremony was part of a Sept. 24 conference in the city of Kaunas celebrating the actions of Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat who, along with his Dutch counterpart Jan Zwartendijk, gave life-saving visas to thousands of Jews fleeing the Holocaust. Zwartendijk, who died in 1976, was also honored at a separate event in The Hague organized on Sept. 22 by the Lithuanian embassy to the Netherlands.

Polanski, 87, has been formally accused of raping a minor in 1977; he has evaded charges by living in Europe for decades.

Main Photo: Roman Polanski poses prior to the screening of his movie “Based on a True Story” in Paris, Oct. 30, 2017. (Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images)

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