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"It was the Christian thing to do"

November 05, 2008

Why would anyone risk his own life, often even his family's, to save the life of someone else? Even more puzzling, why would anyone risk his life to save someone whose culture and religion are radically different from theirs?

The three Polish Catholics pictured with Dr. William A. Donohue (right), president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, have the answer to these provocative questions.  For them, "it was the Christian thing to do."
 
The Christian thing (from left to right)  Michael "Mietek" Madejski and Paul Wos did was to rescue more than 350 Jews from the clutches of the Nazis during the German occupation of Poland in World War II.
 
Shown also with them is the sister of Mr. Wos, Wanda Lorenc, a survivor of the German concentration camp for women at Ravensbruck.
 
The three Polish Catholic Holocaust survivors met Dr. Donohue at the 2008 Awards Banquet of the Polish American Congress Downstate N.Y. Division held in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
 
The Congress selected Donohue as one of this year's honorees along with Rev. Janusz Lipski of St. Hedwig's Church in Floral Park, Bogdan Chmielewski of the Polish & Slavic Federal Credit Union and the Polish Singers Alliance of America, District Seven.
 
In appreciation for doing "the Christian thing," the State of Israel has recognized the selfless and heroic acts of  Mr.Madejski and Mr. Wos at its Yad Vashem Memorial in Jerusalem.  It describes them as "Righteous Among the Nations."
 
Together with his parents, Mr. Wos was responsible for rescuing 12 Jews at the time the Germans were liquidating the Warsaw Ghetto
in April, 1943.  They then sheltered them from any further danger until the end of the German occupation.
 
Mr. Madejski was a boy scout when Germany invaded Poland in 1939.  As a member of the Polish Scout Troop Zoska, he also fought
alongside the Polish Underground Resistance A.K. (Armia Krajowa) in the Warsaw Uprising of August, 1944.
 
When the Armia Krajowa still held an advantage over the Germans, Madejski and his fellow scouts were able to set free 350 Jews from the Gesiowka concentration camp the Germans operated inside Warsaw.
 
During the Polish American Congress banquet, the Polish Catholic survivors said they were pleased the Congress honored Dr. Donohue  for his defense of the Catholic Church "and Catholics like us."
 
"We admire his courage and his determination to speak out against anti-Catholic prejudice.  He's a fighter and he's tough, but only when it's needed.  He's a real gentleman and a genuine Christian."
 
Contact:  Frank Milewski
(718) 263-2700 - Ext. 105