web analytics
March 29, 2015 / 9 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


64-Year-Old Polish Jew Celebrates Bar Mitzvah at the Kotel

Both of his parents were born to Jewish families that perished in Auschwitz.
Moshe Aoflko at the Kotel

Moshe Aoflko at the Kotel
Photo Credit: Sasson Tiram, courtesy of Shavei Israel.

Mariusz Robert Aoflko, a 64-year old Jewish attorney from Krakow who grew up thinking he was a Polish Catholic, celebrated his Bar Mitzvah on Wednesday, May 30, at the Kotel, with friends and other “hidden Jews” from Poland.

Mariusz spent his entire life as a Catholic. However, 13 years ago, right before his mother passed away, she told him something that turned his whole world upside down: he is a Jew, and a Kohen.

This week, Mariusz (who now goes by the name of Moshe) is visiting Israel for the first time and this morning celebrated his Bar Mitzvah at the Kotel, 13 years after the secret, which he calls “his rebirth,” was revealed.

It turns out that both of Mariusz’s parents were born to Jewish families who perished in Auschwitz. After the war, the fear of being Jewish in Poland led his parents to hide their religion and to live as Polish Catholics.

After learning his true identity, Mariusz was in complete shock, but slowly, over the years, he decided he wanted to live a Jewish life. He contacted Shavei Israel’s emissary in Krakow, Rabbi Boaz Pash, and became involved with the Jewish community in Krakow.

Last month, he met Michael Freund, founder and chairman of Shavei Israel, at the entrance of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp, and told him his story. “I was deeply moved,” Freund said, adding, “I told him that since 13 years have passed since he found out he was a Jew, it is an appropriate time for him to have a Bar Mitzvah.” Freund then offered to arrange the event at the Kotel, all paid for by the organization.

“By embarking on this journey into my heritage, step by step, it all starts to become clear to me,” said Mariusz. “I am not doing this to prove anything to anyone. All I ask is to embrace the truth about my family and regain the lost identity that was hidden from me for decades.”

Today, there are approximately 4,000 Jews living in Poland, but experts suggest there may be tens of thousands of other Jews who to this day are either hiding their identities or simply unaware of their family heritage. In recent years, a growing number of such people, popularly known as the “Hidden Jews of Poland,” have begun to return to Judaism and to the Jewish people.

Shavei Israel is a non-profit organization founded by Michael Freund, who immigrated to Israel from the United States, with the aim of strengthening the ties between the Jewish people, the State of Israel and the descendants of Jews around the world. The organization is currently active in nine countries and provides assistance to a variety of different communities such as the Bnei Menashe of India, the Bnei Anousim in Spain, Portugal and South America, the Subbotnik Jews of Russia, and the Jewish community of Kaifeng in China.

Shavei Israel currently has two full-time emissaries in Poland, located in Krakow and Katowice.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “64-Year-Old Polish Jew Celebrates Bar Mitzvah at the Kotel”

  1. Mazel Tov! Last fall, during Rosh Hashonah, at age 66, I celebrated my Bat Mitzvah here in Colorado

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
18,000 Iranian Centrifuges
Netanyahu Warns Iran-Yemen-Nuclear Deal Axis ‘Dangerous to Humanity’ [video]
Latest News Stories
18,000 Iranian Centrifuges

The Prime Minister told the Cabinet the deal in the works is even worse than feared.

John Kerry stuck in Lausanne for more talk with Iran.

Don’t expect Iran to sign anything before the last minute, if not afterwards, and if at all.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu meet in the Kremlin, Nov. 20, 2013.

With “congratulations” like these, who needs a punch in the stomach?

Child looks on as Houti rebels' truck passes with weapons.

The Iranian-backed rebels also threaten suicide bombing attacks as they approach the Saudi border.

The discovery would be a death blow the PA claims that Tel Aviv is “Palestinian” if it weren’t for the fact that that Arafat was born in Egypt.

Who is Horowitz? He’s Netanyahu’s eyes and ears. He’s very close to him, literally his personal representative everywhere…

“The US negotiating team are mainly there to speak on Iran’s behalf with
other members of the 5+1 countries and convince them of a deal.”

Saudi Arabia withdraws personnel from Aden. Iran calls Saudi strike a “strategic mistake.”

“The tone of #US officials’ background comments on #Iran talks is getting progressively more dreary, like the weather in #Lausanne,” Associate Press reporter Matt Lee tweeted Saturday night. Lee is a veteran journalist who has a keen eye and ear that cuts through the double talk and dishonest smiling faces of American diplomats. If he […]

It is a long tradition in the Muslim world never to agree to anything at an agreed time.

Hamas test fired a rocket on Saturday, the rocket landed within the Gaza Strip.

Israel was aware of the report’s impending release and did not object.

The PA hasn’t changed anything on their end, so why did Netanyahu suddenly change his policy?

Obama’s “two-state” phobia shows how much he and his experts do not understand the Middle East.

Kosher for Passover? Depends who you ask.

More Articles from Jewish Press Staff

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/64-year-old-polish-jew-celebrates-bar-mitzvah-at-the-kotel/2013/05/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: