Since I didn’t have the luxury of being on my own timetable any of the three times I visited Yad Vashem, I was unable to go through the entire Avenue of the Righteous Among the Nations, but I did manage to find some interesting names and locations. As a name nerd, I so had to take a picture of this plaque. What name nerd is going to resist a name like Kleopatra?
Kleopatra Pawłowska had been a hospital nurse in Warsaw before the war, and had many Jewish friends. During the Nazi occupation, she was in the underground group Polska Partia Robotnicza (Polish Workers’ Party), and used her home for many secret meetings. A number of her underground visitors phonied up “Aryan” papers for Jews in hiding.
Kleopatra often went in the Warsaw Ghetto, wearing the white armband with a blue Magen David, to provide medical assistance to friends and anyone else in need. She also opened up her own apartment for escapees, even letting them sleep in her own bed. Many of the people she helped were people she’d never met before.
Kleopatra never asked for any special recognition for what she’d done, feeling it was just the right thing to do as a human being and Polish patriot. On 18 February 1964, she was honoured as Righteous Among the Nations, and visited Israel to reunite with the people she’d rescued.
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