Żegota (pronounced [ʐɛˈɡɔta] (listen), full codename: the "Konrad Żegota Committee") was the Polish Council to Aid Jews with the Government Delegation for Poland (Polish: Rada Pomocy Żydom przy Delegaturze Rządu RP na Kraj), an underground Polish resistance organization, and part of the Polish Underground State, active 1942–45 in German-occupied Poland. It was the successor to the Provisional Committee to Aid Jews.
Richard C. Lukas estimated that 60,000, or about half of the Jews who survived the Holocaust in occupied Poland (such estimates vary), were aided in some shape or form by Żegota. Czesław Łuczak estimates the number of aid recipients at about 30,000.
Operatives of Żegota worked in extreme circumstances - under threat of death by the Nazi forces, and sometimes in the midst of a hostile population. Their work required exceptional bravery, and many were recognized as Righteous Among the Nations after the war.
|Żegota Council to Aid Jews|
|Predecessor||Provisional Committee to Aid Jews|
|Formation||September 27, 1942|
|Purpose||Help and distribution of relief funds to Polish Jews in World War II|
|German occupied Poland|
|Henryk Woliński, Julian Grobelny, Ferdynand Arczyński, Zofia Kossak-Szczucka, Wanda Krahelska-Filipowicz, Adolf Berman, Leon Feiner, Władysław Bartoszewski|
The Council to Aid Jews, or Żegota, was the continuation of an earlier aid organization, the Provisional Committee to Aid Jews (Tymczasowy Komitet Pomocy Żydom), that was founded on 27 September 1942 by Polish Catholic activists Zofia Kossak-Szczucka and Wanda Krahelska-Filipowicz ("Alinka"). The Provisional Committee cared for as many as 180 people, but due to political and financial reasons it was dissolved and replaced by Żegota on December 4, 1942. Żegota was the brainchild of Henryk Woliński of the Home Army (AK).
Kossak-Szczucka initially wanted Żegota to become an example of a "pure Christian charity", arguing that Jews had their own international charity organizations. Nevertheless, Żegota was run by both Jews and non-Jews from a wide range of political movements. Julian Grobelny, an activist in the prewar Polish Socialist Party, was elected as General Secretary, and Ferdynand Arczyński - a member of the Polish Democratic Party - as treasurer. Adolf Berman and Leon Feiner represented the Jewish National Committee (an umbrella group representing the Zionist parties) and the Marxist General Jewish Labour Bund. Both parties operated independently, channeling funds donated by Jewish organizations abroad to Żegota and other underground operations. Other members included the Polish Socialist Party, the Democratic Party (Stronnictwo Demokratyczne) and the Catholic Front for the Rebirth of Poland (Front Odrodzenia Polski) led by Kossak-Szczucka and Witold Bieńkowski, editors of its underground publications. The right-wing National Party (Stronnictwo Narodowe) refused to take part in the organization.
Kossak-Szczucka went on to act in the Social Self-Help Organization (Społeczna Organizacja Samopomocy - SOS) as a liaison between Żegota and Catholic convents and orphanages as well as other public orphanages, which jointly hid many Jewish children.
Żegota had around one hundred cells that provided food, medical care, money, and false identification documents to some 4,000 Polish Jews hiding in the "Aryan" side of the German occupation zone. The organization was active chiefly in Warsaw, where it helped some 3,000 Jews who were in hiding, but it also provided money, food, and medicines for prisoners in several forced-labor camps, as well as to refugees in Kraków, Wilno (Vilnius), and Lwów (L'viv). Żegota's activities overlapped to a considerable extent with those of the other major organizations - the Jewish National Committee, which cared for some 5,600 Jews; and the Bund, which cared for an additional 1,500. Together, the three organizations were able to reach some 8,500 of the 28,000 Jews hiding in Warsaw, and perhaps another 1,000 hiding elsewhere in Poland.
Żegota was supported by the Home Army, which provided facilities for forging German identification papers. Żegota also forged about 50,000 other documents such as marriage certificates, baptismal records, death certificates and employment cards to help Jews pass off as Christians.
Żegota's children's section in Warsaw, headed by social worker Irena Sendler, cared for 2,500 of the 9,000 Jewish children smuggled out of the Warsaw Ghetto. Many were placed with foster families, in public orphanages, church orphanages, and convents. Żegota sometimes paid for the children's care. At war's end Sendler tried to return the children to their parents, but nearly all of the parents had died at Treblinka.
Żegota repeatedly asked the Polish Government-in-Exile and the Government Delegation for Poland to appeal to the Polish people to help the persecuted Jews. The Government in Exile gradually increased its funding for Żegota throughout the war.
Under the German occupation, hiding or assisting Jewish refugees was punishable by death. However, it was no less dangerous due to the risk posed by fellow Poles, some of whom did not see kindly lending help for Jews. Irena Sendler is quoted as saying "during [the war] it was simpler to hide a tank under the carpet than shelter a Jewish child."
The Polish Government-in-Exile, based in London, faced immense difficulties funding its institutions in German-occupied Poland; this affected funding for Żegota as well. Part of the funds had to be sent in via highly inefficient airdrops (only some 17% of which succeeded) and some could only be delivered late in the war.
Despite these difficulties, throughout the war the Polish Government-in-Exile continually increased its funding for Żegota: the Polish Government's monthly support was increased from 30,000 złoty to 338,000 złoty in May 1944, and to 1,000,000 złoty by war's end. The Polish Government's overall financial contribution to Żegota and Jewish organizations came to 37,400,000 złoty, 1,000,000 dollars, and 200,000 Swiss francs (see financial details below). According to Marcin Urynowicz, the percentage of the funds allocated by the Polish Government-in-Exile to help Jews, including through Żegota, was based on their percentage in Poland's prewar general population.
Antony Polonsky writes that "Zegota's successes—it was able to forge false documents for some 50,000 persons—suggest that, had it been given a higher priority by the Delegatura and the government in London, it could have done much more." Polonsky quotes Wladyslaw Bartoszewski as saying that the organization was considered a "stepchild" of the underground; and Emanuel Ringelblum, who wrote that "a Council for Aid to the Jews was formed, consisting of people of good will, but its activity was limited by lack of funds and lack of help from the government." A similar description is given by historian Martin Winstone, who writes that Żegota fought an uphill battle for funding and received more support from Jewish organizations than from the Polish Government-in-Exile. He also notes that the Polish right-wing parties completely refused to support it. Shmuel Krakowski described the funding as "modest", and writes that the Polish government could have allocated more to funding the organization. He writes that "[the funding] was indeed very little considering not only the needs of the council and the immensity of the Jewish tragedy, but also the resources at the Polish underground’s disposal... they could have been much more generous in allocating resources needed to save human lives."
Joseph Kermish describes the relationship between Żegota and the Government Delegation for Poland as strained, with frequent disagreements about funding and the extent of the humanitarian crisis Żegota was trying to address.
|Funds allocated to Żegota|
|May 1943 - Feb. 1944||6,250,000 zł||total|||
|Jan. 1943 - May 1944||11,250,000 zł||total||According to Witold Bieńkowski|
|Before May 1944||30,000 zł||monthly|
|After May 1944||338,000 zł||monthly|
|Nov. 1944 - Dec. 1944||14,000,00 zł||total||Allotted to help 1,500-1,800 Jews hiding on Warsaw's left bank|
|Nov. 1944 - Dec. 1944||$32,000||n/a|||
|March 1945 - April 1945||$65,000||n/a|||
|By Sept. 1945||1,000,000 zł||monthly|
|1939-1945||$250,000||total||Sum of all funds allocated to Żegota expressed in USD|
|Funds allocated to all Jewish organizations|
|total||Combined total, including the funds allocated to Żegota|
|Funds allocated to all organizations|
|total||Based on partial data - actual figure probably higher|
In a letter from February 26, 1977 Adolf Berman mentions the following activists as especially meritorious:
The Council to Aid Jews, Żegota, was the only state-sponsored organization in occupied Europe which was set up with the aim of saving Jews.
This was the only organization in German-occupied countries established specifically to save Jews.
Poland was the only country in Nazi-occupied Europe where such an organization, run jointly by Jews and non-Jews from a wide range of political movements, existed
[Some] Polish resistance fighters, that were willing to fight bravely and faithfully against the German conquerer, contributed on their end to a certain aspect of Nazi policy in occupied Poland to its broad success: the murder of Jews. These trends are also expressed in the words of Righteous Among the Nations and member of the Żegota organization Irena Sendler, that during the Second World War it was simpler to hid a tank under the carpet than shelter a Jewish child."
This article is about a coup attempt in Poland. You may also be looking for 1919 Polish coup d'état attempt in Lithuania.The Polish Coup of early January 1919 was an unsuccessful coup d'etat in Poland. On 4–5 January 1919, right-wing National Democrats attempted to overthrow the government of Jędrzej Moraczewski and Józef Piłsudski. The coup's leaders included Marian Januszajtis-Żegota and Prince Eustachy Sapieha.
The coup forces succeeded in arresting Moraczewski's government but not Piłsudski. Some military units refused to follow confusing or surprising orders, and eventually the coup ended in some arrests and in a return to the status quo ante. There were no fatalities or significant injuries. In mid-January, right-wing activists were admitted to membership in a coalition government.Ferdynand
Ferdynand may refer to:
Ferdynand Antoni Ossendowski (1876–1945), Polish writer, journalist, traveller, explorer and university professor
Ferdynand Arczyński (1900–1979), founding member of Żegota in German-occupied Poland (1942–1945)
Ferdynand Radziwiłł (1834–1926), Polish nobleman and Polish-German politician
Ferdynand Ruszczyc (1870–1936), Polish painter, printmaker, and stage designer
Ferdynand Zarzycki (1888–1958), Polish general and politician
Karol Ferdynand Vasa (1613–1655), Prince-Bishop of Breslau/Wrocław, bishop of Płock and Duke of Oppeln Opole
Stanisław Ferdynand Rzewuski (1737–1786), Polish noble (szlachcic)Ferdynand Arczyński
Ferdynand Marek Arczyński (December 8, 1900 in Kraków – 1979 in Warsaw), cryptonym "Marek" or "Lukowski", was one of the founding members of an underground organization Żegota (Council for Aid to Jews) in German-occupied Poland, from 1942 to 1945. Żegota's express purpose was to help the country's Jews survive the Holocaust; find places of safety for them, and provide relief payments to thousands of families. Poland was the only country in occupied Europe with such an organization during World War II.Irena Sendler
Irena Stanisława Sendler (née Krzyżanowska), also referred to as Irena Sendlerowa in Poland, nom de guerre "Jolanta" (15 February 1910 – 12 May 2008), was a Polish social worker, humanitarian and nurse who served in the Polish Underground during World War II in German-occupied Warsaw, and from October 1943 was head of the children's section of Żegota, the Polish Council to Aid Jews (Polish: Rada Pomocy Żydom).In the 1930s, Sendler conducted her social work as one of the activists connected to the Free Polish University. From 1935 to October 1943, she worked for the Department of Social Welfare and Public Health of the City of Warsaw. She also pursued informal, and during the war conspiratorial activities, such as rescuing Jews, primarily as part of the network of workers and volunteers from that department, mostly women. Sendler participated, with dozens of others, in smuggling Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto and then provided them with false identity documents and shelter with willing Polish families or in orphanages and other care facilities, including Catholic nun convents, saving those children from the Holocaust.The German occupiers suspected Sendler's involvement in the Polish Underground and in October 1943 she was arrested by the Gestapo, but she managed to hide the list of the names and locations of the rescued Jewish children, preventing this information from falling into the hands of the Gestapo. Withstanding torture and imprisonment, Sendler never revealed anything about her work or the location of the saved children. She was sentenced to death but narrowly escaped on the day of her scheduled execution, after Żegota bribed German officials to obtain her release.
In communist Poland, Sendler continued her social activism but also pursued a government career. In 1965, she was recognised by the State of Israel as Righteous Among the Nations. Among the many decorations Sendler received were the Gold Cross of Merit granted her in 1946 for the saving of Jews and the Order of the White Eagle, Poland's highest honour, awarded late in Sendler's life for her wartime humanitarian efforts.Irene Tomaszewski
Irene Tomaszewski (also Irena Tomaszewska, born May 1940) is a Canadian writer, editor and translator of Polish descent living in Montreal, Canada.Julian Grobelny
Julian Grobelny (16 February 1893 – 4 December 1946) was an activist in the Polish Socialist Party (PPS) from 1915, in the lead-up to Poland's return to independence. During the interwar period he was a social activist. After the German-Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939, and the ensuing Holocaust, he became President of Żegota (Council for Aid to Jews) active in the General Government territory of occupied Poland. The clandestine organization was named after a fictional character Konrad Żegota born on the exact day of its inception in 1942. Grobelny served as president of Żegota until the end of hostilities.Leon Feiner
Leon Feiner (nom-de-guerre "Mikołaj" (Michael), "Berezowski") (born 1885 in Krakow, died February 22, 1945 in Lublin) was a Polish-Jewish lawyer, an activist of the General Jewish Labour Bund in Poland and between November 1944 and January 1945 the director (prezes) and vice-chairman of the Council to Aid Jews "Żegota".Marian Januszajtis-Żegota
Marian Józef Żegota-Januszajtis (3 April 1889, Częstochowa, Piotrków Governorate - 24 March 1973, Royal Tunbridge Wells) was a Polish military commander and politician. One of the founders of Polish paramilitary pro-independence organizations in Austrian partition, and last commander of the 1st Brigade of Polish Legions.
He was also organizer of the unsuccessful coup in 1919, general in the Second Polish Republic and Polish Armed Forces in the West, voivode of the Nowogródek Voivodeship (1924-1926), and member of the Polish government in Exile.
Following the Soviet invasion of Poland he founded the Organization for the Struggle for Freedom in Lwów. He was arrested by NKVD on 27 October 1939 and imprisoned in Lwów and then in Moscow Lubyanka prison. After the Sikorski-Mayski Agreement of July 1941, he was released. After the war he stayed in exile in the United Kingdom, where he died in March 1973.Matylda Getter
Matylda Getter (1870–1968) was a Polish Catholic nun, mother provincial of CSFFM (lat. Congregatio Sororum Franciscalium Familiae Mariae) - Franciscan Sisters of the Family of Mary in Warsaw and social worker in pre-war Poland. In German-occupied Warsaw during World War II she cooperated with Irena Sendler and the Żegota resistance organization in saving the lives of hundreds of Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto. She was recognized as one of Polish Righteous among the Nations by Yad Vashem. for her rescue activities.Polish Rifle Squads
The Polish Rifle Squads (Polskie Drużyny Strzeleckie, PDS) was a Polish pro-independence paramilitary organization, founded in 1911 by the Youth Independence Organization Zarzewie in the Austro-Hungarian sector of partitioned Poland. Among its founders were Norwid Neugebauer, Marian Januszajtis-Żegota, Henryk Bagiński and Eugeniusz Homer.
The organization was similar in spirit to, and closely cooperated with, the Riflemen's Association. It too was supported by the Austro-Hungarian government, which wanted to raise a Polish army for use in World War I. By 1914 the organization numbered 6,000 members. Most of them joined Józef Piłsudski's Polish Legions in World War I.
Before its legalization, the PDS operated as an underground organization called Polish Military Alliance (Polski Zwiazek Wojskowy, PZW). Its objective was to prepare the Polish nation for fight for independence, with emphasis on training of officer corps of the future army. In October 1910, the PZW took the name Armia Polska (Polish Army), organizing paramilitary courses in Austrian Galicia, as well as in Congress Poland and Vienna. In 1911-1912, after legalization and changing name to Polish Rifle Squads, the organization had 650 members. By the outbreak of the First World War, its membership grew rapidly, to over 6,000 members, divided into 127 so-called rifle teams. The PDS closely cooperated with the Union of Active Struggle, and as a result, both organizations coordinated their activities, introducing same kind of uniforms. Members of the PDS used several kinds of weapons during military training courses. Most popular were Mannlicher–Schönauer and obsolete M1867 Werndl–Holub rifles.Polish Righteous Among the Nations
The citizens of Poland have the world's highest count of individuals who have been recognized by Yad Vashem of Jerusalem as the Polish Righteous Among the Nations, for saving Jews from extermination during the Holocaust in World War II. As of 1 January 2018, there are 6,863 Polish men and women recognized as Righteous Among the Nations, over a quarter the of 26,973 recognized by Yad Vashem in total.It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of Poles concealed and aided hundreds of thousands of their Polish-Jewish neighbors. Many of these initiatives were carried out by individuals, but there also existed organized networks of Polish resistance which were dedicated to aiding Jews – most notably, the Żegota organization.
In German-occupied Poland the task of rescuing Jews was especially difficult and dangerous compared to other European countries under German occupation. All household members were punished by death if a Jew was found concealed in their home or on their property. It is estimated that the number of Poles who were killed by the Nazis for aiding Jews was as high as tens of thousands, 704 of whom were posthumously honored with medals.Provisional Committee to Aid Jews
The Provisional Committee to Aid Jews (Polish: Tymczasowy Komitet Pomocy Żydom) was founded on September 27, 1942, by Zofia Kossak-Szczucka and Wanda Krahelska-Filipowicz. The founding body consisted of Polish democratic Catholic activists associated with the Front Odrodzenia Polski, Polska Organizacja Demokratyczna, Związek Syndykalistów Polskich and PPS-WRN. It was the direct predecessor to Żegota, the underground Council to Aid Jews (Rada Pomocy Żydom).The Provisional Committee was helping 180 persons already within a short period following its creation. It was financed partly by the Department of Social Services (Departament Opieki Społecznej) and the Department of Internal Affairs (Departament Spraw Wewnętrznych) of the Polish Government in Exile.
The Provisional Committee may have been the first formal institution in modern Polish history to be operated in an atmosphere of mutual trust by Polish and Jewish organizations of a broad political and socioeconomic spectrum. One of its vice-presidents was a member of Bund, Leon Feiner. Its secretary was Adolf Berman, who represented Zionist organizations.
One of the better-known Polish members of the Provisional Committee was professor Władysław Bartoszewski, co-founder of Żegota, who would serve as Poland's Minister of Foreign Affairs through most of 1995. Other members included Anna Maria Lasocka, wife of the President of the Polish Landowners Association, and social democrat Czesława Wojeńska.
The Provisional Committee comprised Polish underground organizations that recognized the authority of the Government in Exile. Hence it did not include the communist Polish Workers' Party (PPR), which provided similar aid to Jews.
The successor to the Provisional Committee to Aid Jews was Żegota, founded in December 1942.Rescue of Jews by Poles during the Holocaust
Polish Jews were among the primary victims of the German-organized Holocaust. Throughout the German occupation of Poland, many Poles risked their lives – and the lives of their families – to rescue Jews from the Germans. Poles were, by nationality, the most numerous persons who rescued Jews during the Holocaust. To date, 6,863 ethnic Poles have been recognized by the State of Israel as Righteous among the Nations – more, by far, than the citizens of any other country.The Home Army (the Polish Resistance) alerted the world to the Holocaust through the reports of Polish Army officer Witold Pilecki, conveyed by Polish government-in-exile courier Jan Karski. The Polish government-in-exile and the Polish Secret State pleaded, to no avail, for American and British help to stop the Holocaust.Some estimates put the number of Polish rescuers of Jews as high as 3 million, and credit Poles with saving up to some 450,000 Jews, temporarily, from certain death. The rescue efforts were aided by one of the largest resistance movements in Europe, the Polish Underground State and its military arm, the Home Army. Supported by the Government Delegation for Poland, these organizations operated special units dedicated to helping Jews; of those units, the most notable was the Żegota Council, based in Warsaw, with branches in Kraków, Wilno, and Lwów.Polish rescuers of Jews were hampered by the most stringent conditions in all of German-occupied Europe. Occupied Poland was the only country where the Germans decreed that any kind of help to Jews was punishable by death for the rescuer and the rescuer's entire family. Of the estimated 3 million non-Jewish Poles killed in World War II, thousands – perhaps as many as 50,000 – were executed by the Germans solely for saving Jews.Teresa Prekerowa
Teresa Prekerowa, also Teresa Preker née Dobrska (30 December 1921 – 19 May 1998) was a Polish historian and author of Konspiracyjna Rada Pomocy Żydom w Warszawie 1942-1945 (Żegota in Warsaw 1942-1945) published in 1982 during the communist military crackdown in the Polish People's Republic.Wacław Wąsowicz
Wacław Wąsowicz (born 25 August 1891 in Warsaw, died 6 October 1942 therein) was a Polish painter and printmaker.Wacław Wasowicz studied art with Wojciech Gerson (1909-1910), afterwards he studied at the School of Fine Arts in Warsaw (1911-1914), where he was taught by Ignacy Pieńkowski. He had also studied at the Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, where he was a student of Jacek Malczewski (1914). He had made his artwork using trompe-l'œil, printmaking, watercolour, he painted on fabric, and on ceramic.His wife Janina Raabe-Wąsowiczowa was a social worker, and a member of the Konrad Żegota Committee.Wanda Krahelska-Filipowicz
Wanda Krahelska-Filipowicz (15 December, 1886–1968), code name “Alinka”” or “Alicja”, was a leading figure in Warsaw’s underground resistance movement throughout the years of German occupation during World War II in Poland, co-founder of Żegota. As the well-connected wife of a former ambassador to Washington, she used her contacts with both the military and political leadership of the Polish Underground to materially influence the underground's policy of aiding Poland's Jewish population during the war.
Early on, Krahelska-Filipowicz used her influence to persuade the Government in Exile, including members of the Delegatura and its military counterpart, the AK, of the importance of setting up a central organization to help Poland's Jews, and to back the policy with significant funding.Krahelska-Filipowicz also personally sheltered Jewish individuals in her own home early during the German occupation. Among the refugees was the widow of the Jewish historian Szymon Aszkenazy.A Catholic Socialist activist and a devout Democrat, she was the editor of the Polish art magazine "Arkady".
In the pre-World War I partitioned Poland, on 18 August 1906, at the age of twenty she took part in an assassination attempt on the Russian governor-general of Warsaw, Georgi Skalon. She threw three 'dynamite bombs' on the governor's coach; two did explode and slightly injured three persons in governor's entourage. Afterwards, she fled to Cracow in Austrian part of Poland, entered into fictional marriage with painter Adam Dobrodzicki and became citizen of Austria-Hungary. Austria refused to extradite her to Russia and instead arranged a trial in Wadowice, starting on 16 February 1908. Wanda Dobrodzicka had confessed but was acquitted.Witold Bieńkowski
Witold Bieńkowski, code-name Wencki (1906–1965), was a Polish politician, publicist and leader of the Catholic underground organization called Front for a Reborn Poland (Front Odrodzenia Polski, F.O.P.) during World War II, as well as member of the Provisional Committee to Aid Jews, Żegota, and a permanent representative of the Delegation for Poland of the Polish Government-in-Exile.Bieńkowski was a Deputy to the Polish parliament (Sejm) from 1947 to 1952. He served as editor-in-chief of the Catholic weekly Dziś i Jutro (pl) (Today and Tomorrow) between 1945 and 1947.Zofia Kossak-Szczucka
Zofia Kossak-Szczucka (Polish pronunciation: [ˈzɔfʲja ˈkɔssak ˈʂt͡ʂut͡ska]; 10 August 1889 – 9 April 1968) was a Polish writer and World War II resistance fighter. She co-founded two wartime Polish organizations: Front Odrodzenia Polski and Żegota, set up to assist Polish Jews to escape the Holocaust. In 1943, she was arrested by the Germans and sent to Auschwitz Concentration Camp, but survived the war.Żegota (disambiguation)
Żegota was a Polish World War II resistance organization founded by the Armia Krajowa to help the Jews during the Holocaust.Żegota may also refer to:
Żegota, a Polish male name of Slavic origin; its Christian counterpart is the name of Ignatius
Żegota, nom de guerre of two Polish 20th century generals: Marian Żegota-Januszajtis and Tadeusz Kurcyusz