Even though 67 years had passed since they last saw each other, Wladyslawa Dudziak and Rozia Beiman reunited as if they hadn’t missed a moment.
Dudziak, 85, was flown to New York last week from Poland to meet with Beiman, whom she had saved from the Nazis more than a half-century before.
Dudziak lived in Lublin during World War II and asked her family to look after Beiman when Beiman’s parents went missing – presumably sent to the nearby Majdanek concentration camp. Although extremely poor, the family hid Beiman in its home and pretended she was a niece until the city was liberated in 1944.
“I still feel like she’s my sister, even though I haven’t seen her in so long,” Beiman told JTA. “I think about her all the time. I trusted their family wholeheartedly during the war. I knew they wouldn’t give me up because they loved my parents.”
On Nov. 21, at Kennedy Airport, Beiman greeted Dudziak and her daughter with flowers. Dudziak, who had never been on a plane before, cried when she saw Beiman.
The reunion was arranged by the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, a New York organization that provides financial support to hundreds of non-Jews who saved Jewish lives during the Holocaust.
Speaking in Polish, Dudziak said though she felt too old to travel, she wanted to see Beiman and give her one last hug. She said it was dangerous to hide Jews during the war, but that her mother insisted they keep Beiman safe.