When Michael Hochberg was just 4 years old, a couple kept him hidden away for two years. The only way he could sneak fresh air was at night, in the darkness.
This couple, they weren’t kidnappers, they were Christians.
The year was 1943 and the place was Poland; the Nazis were seeking out all people of the Jewish faith to send them to concentration camps. But Rozalla Jakubowska and her husband, who were devout Christians, knew that this was wrong.
Like the Polzeics who hid Leon Gersten, the family took Michael in, risking their own lives, to protect the little boy. Rozalla treated Michael as if he were her own, and Rozalla’s biological daughter, Krystyna, treated him like her brother.
Then in 1945, Poland was liberated and Michael was taken from the family to live in a Jewish orphanage. After all of these years, Michael never forgot what the family had risked for him.
Seventy years later, though Rozalla has since passed, Michael has finally reunited with Krystyna.
“I didn’t have much time to say goodbye. The only thing I could do was hug everybody,” he said of when he was taken away.
It may have taken 70 years, but now Michael can now finally thank the family that saved his life. Michael’s story shows that what is often remembered as one of the most atrocious times in history can also be remembered as a time when people showed profound kindness.
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