Poland has recognised the head of the nation’s Jewish community and an ambassador working to recognise non-Jews who saved Jews during the Holocaust.
Monika Krawczyk, president of the Union of Jewish Communities in Poland, and Jakub Kumoch, the ambassador to Switzerland, were among 17 people honoured with national awards on Wednesday for contributing to the development, dissemination and protection of Polish culture.
Krawczyk was honoured in the field of protection of cultural heritage. Speaking at the ceremony at the National Theater in Warsaw, she said it was the first time in her 15 years of work for the heritage of Polish Jews that her efforts have been recognised.
She thanked Minister of Culture Piotr Glinski “on behalf of the entire Jewish community, all Jewish communities in Poland, who have the honour to work for those places of remembrance, historical synagogues, cemeteries, other objects that beautifully decorate our space.”
Kumoch was honoured in the protection of culture heritage abroad category. He is engaged in commemorating Polish Righteous Among the Nations, those honoured by the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Israel for saving Jews during the Holocaust.
“I am honoured to be the successor of an extraordinary man, Aleksander Lados, who, along with his diplomats, did an amazing thing — he tried to save over 8,000 Jews from the Holocaust. He helped save thousands,” Kumoch said in receiving the prize.
Lados was a Polish diplomat in Switzerland who with others issued illegal Latin American passports to Jews from Poland during World War II. In April, Yad Vashem recognised Konstanty Rokicki, who worked with Kados to save Jews, with the Righteous Among the Nations status.
Lados and another member of the group, Stefan Ryniewicz, did not receive the title, spurring a protest by 30 survivors and the Polish honourary consul in Zurich, Markus Blechner.