Born in Austria to Polish parents who had fled Communism in 1973, I was lucky enough to grow up with a wonderful family story.
My paternal grandmother, Maryja Necek, whom I never knew, hid a young Jewish woman for more than a year at the risk of her own life and that of her family in war-torn Poland. Having escaped from a train bound for Auschwitz, the young woman had found refuge in the family home in Klaj, a small village 30 kilometers from Krakow, in the Polish countryside. During the day, Lusia stayed hidden in a small room in the attic which she left in the evening to have dinner with the family. Even my grandfather, absent during the week for professional reasons, was not aware of her existence. These facts were related to me by my aunt, who was eight years old at the time.
Lusia remained in hiding for more than a year and survived the Holocaust. In post-war Krakow, she found a job in a pharmacy. Having died young at the end of the fifties, Lusia took all her secrets with her to the grave and thus the proof of my grandmother’s incredible courage. Maryja Necek is one of those Righteous Among the Nations who will remain in the shadows forever. Indeed, it is impossible to have her recognized by Yad Vashem without the rescued person or his descendants asking for that status and providing evidence.