Chicago-Area Holocaust Museum Honors Polish Hero as “Righteous Among The Nations”

Share Article

This Thursday, July 19 at 11:00 AM, the media are invited to the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center to witness the honorable Consul General of Israel to the Midwest Orli Gil posthumously honor Polish citizen Katarzyna (Kasia) Moroz as “Righteous Among the Nations,” Israel’s highest honor.

The ceremony will be held at the Ferro Fountain of the Righteous.

Kasia profusely denied that Ella was a Jew, proclaiming that if the head of the village were to give Ella and her daughter over to the Germans that she, Kasia, and her four children would go as well.

Witness the honorable Consul General of Israel to the Midwest Orli Gil posthumously honor Polish citizen Katarzyna (Kasia) Moroz as “Righteous Among the Nations,” Israel’s highest honor. Yad Vashem’s Commission for the Designation of the Righteous is deeming Kasia Moroz as Righteous Among the Nations in recognition of her courageous efforts to rescue her Jewish friend, Ella Zharkover, from Nazi persecution. Accepting the award on Kasia’s behalf at the Museum’s Ferro Fountain of the Righteous will be her grandson, Mr. Mark Terlecki. Additional members of Kasia’s family and the honorable Deputy Consul General of Poland Robert Rusiecki will also offer their reflections.

Kasia Moroz lived in the village of Kozaki, Poland during World War II. In 1942, she was contacted by Ella Zharkover, a Jewish friend from Zbaraz, Galitzia, for help. Shortly after the German occupation of Zbaraz, Ella heard word of an operation targeting Jewish intelligentsia, and as a Jewish lawyer, she realized she needed to escape. Kasia took Ella and her three-year old daughter into her home in October of 1942, telling her husband and children that Ella was a relative from a distant city. Kasia attempted to obtain a working permit for Ella from the local workers department so that she would be immune from potential German labor recruitment, but the officer suspected that Ella was a Jew and refused to issue the certificate to the “Jewish Pig.”

Kasia’s husband was unaware that he was hosting a Jew in his home until this point. Mr. Moroz was an alcoholic, and in his drunken state, publicly announced that his wife was giving shelter to a Jew and her daughter. The head of the village came to investigate this claim, and at the moment of truth, Kasia stood up to protect Ella and her daughter. She profusely denied that Ella was a Jew, proclaiming that if the head of the village were to give Ella and her daughter over to the Germans that she, Kasia, and her four children would go as well. In June, 1943, Ella decided that she would move to a new location, one where she wouldn’t be recognized. Kasia took her to her married daughter’s home in Lopatyn, Ukraine, telling her daughter that Ella was a distant relative. Ella worked there as a cook on a farm that was run by the German civil government until the liberation of Poland in 1944.

The ceremony honoring Kasia’s heroic efforts will be held in the midst of the Museum’s annual Summer Institute, teaching educators from around the world—including Polish educators Krzysztof Niwiński and Ewelina Beńko-Kaczkowska—about the Holocaust and contemporary genocide. The focus of the teacher workshop on July 19th will be efforts of resistance to Nazi persecution and those righteous gentiles who risked their lives to rescue Jews. Featured speaker John Krawiec, a non-Jewish Polish survivor of Auschwitz and Buchenwald, will speak about his experiences during the war in resisting the Nazis and publishing an underground bulletin.

Likely the last international institution of its kind built with the active participation of Holocaust survivors, the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center is the largest facility in the Midwest dedicated to preserving the memories of those lost in the Holocaust and to teaching current generations to fight hatred, indifference and genocide in today’s world.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Karen Goodman Minter
Follow us on
Visit website