Polish woman, world's oldest Righteous, celebrates 101st birthday

Polin Museum

Anna Kozminska, the oldest living Righteous Among the Nations honoree, celebrates her 101st birthday on Friday, the Polish Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) has said in a communique sent to PAP.

According to the IPN, Kozminska's story remained unknown for decades.

The institute reported that Anna spent the war with her stepmother Maria Kozminska in Czestochowa, southern Poland, where in 1943-45 they hid Abraham Jablonski, a Jewish boy, who held documents belonging to a child killed by the Germans, in the name of Bohdan Wojciech Bloch.

In September 1942, eight-year-old Abraham, with the help of his sister Iza, escaped from the ghetto in Czestochowa. The boy hid in a coal cellar, where he began to lose his eyesight. Maria Kozminska and her stepdaughter Anna, at the request of his uncle, agreed to give shelter to the boy. They told friends that the child had survived a family tragedy, lost his father and was temporarily under their care. The Kozminskis attended to his education and took him for walks. Despite German searches, the boy was saved.

The women also gave temporary shelter to a man named Rubinstein, who was a distant relative of the Jablonski family, and to his acquaintance Rita and her mother Stefa.

After the war, Abraham Jablonski emigrated to Israel, where he gave testimony of the humanity and courage of both women. Forty-seven years later, he located Anna Kozminska in Warsaw. He asked her to write down her memories of the war, which she did.

It was at his request that on February 11, 1991, Maria and Anna Kozminska were honoured by the Yad Vashem Institute with the Righteous Among the Nations medal. In 2016, Anna Kozminska received the Commander's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta from President Andrzej Duda.