Roman Polanski’s Holocaust saviours to be honoured
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Roman Polanski’s Holocaust saviours to be honoured

Grandson of Stefania and Jan Buchała will accept the medal naming them posthumously as Righteous Among the Nations for saving the Jewish director

Fugitive film director Roman Polanski 

Photo credit: Joel Ryan/PA Wire
Fugitive film director Roman Polanski Photo credit: Joel Ryan/PA Wire

Israel is set to honour 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, recognised the Buchałas’ actions last year. The couple died in the 1950s.

The Buchalas are among 7,112 Poles who have been named Righteous Among the Nations, the highest tally by any single country. Poles account for 25% of all recipients from some 50 countries.

Last month, Israel presented the medal to the descendants of four couples in neighbouring 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 honoured at a separate event in The Hague organised on Sept. 22 by the Lithuanian embassy to the Netherlands.

Polanski, 87, has been formally accused of raping a minor in 1977; he has invaded charges by living in Europe for decades. Over the past decade, several other women have accused him of sexually assaulting them as minors.

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