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New Righteous will be honoured in Warsaw’s Garden

Stanislav Petrov, Antonina Wyrzykowska, Karol Modzelewski

a ceremony at the Warsaw Garden

a ceremony at the Warsaw Garden

Warsaw’s Garden of the Righteous will dedicate this year’s new trees and memorial stones to three exemplary individuals. The Garden – erected in the district of Wola to honour those who had the courage to stand up against totalitarianism and defend human dignity during genocides - was born in 2014 thanks to the collaboration between Gariwo and Warsaw’s History Meeting House.

It was a committee from Warsaw’s History Meeting House to nominate the new Righteous people who will be honoured in the Garden. Here are their names:

  • Stanislav Petrov was a lieutenant colonel in the Red Army at the time of the Cold War. One night, while on duty at one of the Soviet Union’s early-warning bases, he avoided reporting a suspicious incoming missile strike alarm from the United States. By taking a huge risk on himself, he helped preventing a potential nuclear disaster. He did not receive any recognition at the time, but was called on order by the Soviet authorities for not following the procedure. His story remained secret until the end of the war and the collapse of the Soviet Union.
  • Antonina Wyrzykowka, together with her husband, was nominated Righteous among the Nations by Yad Vashem for hosting in their home in Janczewka seven survivors of the Jedwabne massacre until January 1945, when the area was freed by the Red Army. A few days later, Antonina Wyrzykowska and her husband Aleksander were assaulted and beaten up by a band of Polish ultra-nationalists and was forced to leave her house and move to the city of Milanowek, near Warsaw.
  • Karol Modzelewski was a Polish scholar of medieval history. Passionate, brave and uncompromising, he was among the founders of Solidarność and dedicated his life to fighting for democracy in Poland. He spent three years and six months in prison for co-writing with Jacek Kurón an open letter to the party that openly criticised the regime. After March 1968, he was arrested again and it wasn’t until 1971 that he could resume to his job as a historian. In 2006, Modzelewski was nominated vice-president of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

8 September 2020

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