The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, established in 1986 to fulfill the traditional Jewish commitment to hakarat hatov, gratitude, on Sunday, in Warsaw, honored a group of elderly Polish gentiles who saved Jews in the Holocaust. According to the Associated Press, the righteous, in their 80s and 90s, some of them in wheelchairs, arrived with their children.
Stanlee Stahl, the foundation’s executive vice president, told the honorees: “On behalf of the Jewish people, I thank you for your noble deeds so many years ago, for when most turned their backs on their Jewish neighbors, you did not. You will always be remembered in our prayers, for you didn’t just save the Jewish person 75 years ago, you made it possible for generations to be born.”
“You made it possible for hundreds if not thousands of people to be alive today,” Stahl said. “You have helped repair the world.”
The Foundation began supporting eight rescuers in the late 1980s, and by 2018, it distributed approximately $1.1 million in direct support of Righteous Gentiles.
The number of rescuers receiving monthly financial support from the Foundation grew over the years to a high of 1,800 in 2003. In 2019, the JFR expects to distribute approximately $1.1 million to Righteous Gentiles. Over the past twenty-seven years, the Foundation has awarded more than $40 million to these aging heroes.
Rescuers receive awards in US dollars three times a year. The calculation of the award is based on a monthly stipend, with each award covering a period of four months. Rescuers use the funds to cover the costs of food, home heating fuel, medical care, medication, and emergency needs.
Depending on availability of funds, the Foundation also provides one-time grants for the purchase of food during the Christmas holiday season to rescuers living in Poland and other Eastern European countries.
The Foundation remains committed to supporting these rescuers throughout the remainder of their lives.
The JFR also awards a small grant, upon request, to help defray funeral expenses.