Beliefnet News

Beliefnet News

Polish resistance fighter who sneaked his Jewish girlfriend out of Auschwitz dead at 90


Jerzy Bielecki, a Polish resistance fighter who in 1944 helped his Jewish girlfriend escape the Auschwitz death camp, has died at the age of 90.

At the camp, as a Catholic, he was able to join the camp’s cadre, volunteers who helped with chores. Taking advantage of his access to storerooms, he spent several months piecing together an SS uniform, reports the Washington Post.

Pretending he was taking a Jewish inmate out of the camp for interrogation, he and Cyla Cybulska slipped past a sleepy German guard and fled to safety.

The couple was later separated and spent decades unaware of what fate had befallen the other. Then in 1982, when she was married and living in New York, she told a Polish cleaning woman how she had escaped from Auschwitz. The woman told how she had heard an identical story on the radio, according to the London Daily Mail.

Cyla Cybulska in a 1945 photo (Bielecki Family Archive)

As a result, the two were reunited with Bielecki greeting her at Krakow Airport with 39 roses, one marking each year they had been apart. Bielecki was later honored with the “Righteous Among Nations” award by Israel’s Yad Vashem Institute and was made an honorary citizen of the Jewish state, according to the website BosNewsLife.

Jerzy in 1947 (Bielecki Family Archive

The story of his daring escape to save the woman he loved has been related in several documentaries and books, including Bielecki’s own autobiography Kto ratuje jedno życie or He Who Saves One Life, published in 1990.

Following his escape he joined up with the Polish “Home Army” resistance movement. After the war, he became a social worker and co-founded the Christian Association of Auschwitz Families.

Bielecki died of natural causes at his home in Nowy Targ, Poland.

Cybulska died in New York in 2002.

Previous Posts

Hispanics turning evangelical, Jews secular
Worship service attendance is up in New York City, but down among young adult Jews, according to recent studies. On the other hand, fewer Spanish-speaking teens are attending Catholic mass, but more are showing up at Evangelical churches. [caption id="attachment_12343" align="alignleft" width="48

posted 3:10:30pm Nov. 05, 2013 | read full post »

Billy Graham: I know where I'm going
“Daddy thinks the Lord will allow him to live to 95,” said Franklin Graham recently. It was not a prophecy but a hope, Franklin explained, that he would live to see the beginning of a Christian re

posted 10:02:01am Oct. 24, 2013 | read full post »

Are All These Christians' Complaints of Persecution Just So Much Empty Whining?
The headlines are alarming: “Catholic-Owned Company Wins Religious Freedom Court Decision,” “Death Toll Rises to 65 in Boko Haram Attack on Students,” “Little Sisters Catholic Charity Victimized By Obamacare,” “Christians Sought Out, Murdered in the Kenyan Mall Massacre,” “Judicial

posted 2:41:26am Oct. 07, 2013 | read full post »

How can Christians defend themselves against today's random violence?
So, a crazed gunman opens fire and you’re caught in the middle. How can you survive? Heroes come in all sorts of packages. And they wield all sorts of defensive weapons. Such as guns and Jesus. Sometimes both at the same time. [caption id="attachment_12246" align="alignleft" width="480"] Ant

posted 2:53:48pm Sep. 27, 2013 | read full post »

Does Sunday Morning Church Really Need All This Glitter, Showmanship and Gimmickry?
What’s wrong with church today? Are we in danger of turning worship into a flashy concert? Of watering down the message so nobody is offended? Of forgetting the simplicity of the Gospel? I grew up with a preacher’s kid. He was a fake following in the footsteps of his flimflamming father who d

posted 11:26:20am Sep. 20, 2013 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.