Yaakov (Kuba) Wodzislawski was not quite 14 when the Nazis invaded Poland. He survived ghetto life and the labor camp in his home town Częstochowa, although his parents were sent to the fires of Treblinka. Wodzislawski escaped the labor camp and found shelter with Barbara Hajdas, a Pole who was later honored as a “Righteous Gentile” for putting her own life at jeopardy by saving 14 Jews from the Nazis.
When Poland was liberated, Wodzislawski emerged from his hideout, headed back to his native Częstochowa, and made a promise to himself:
“I knew I had to do something so that the Jewish nation would never again risk annihilation. I knew that we had to build our own state so that Jews could at last defend ourselves, and I knew that we couldn’t trust our fate to anyone but ourselves.”
In 1945, Wodzislawski entered Israel as an illegal immigrant. In January 1948, Wodzislawski volunteered to join the ranks of the Haganah.
Yaakov married Irena, who was also a child of the Holocaust, in 1978. Together they founded the Holocaust and Heroism Memorial House in Ariel, Israel. Their main goal: to guarantee that the voices of the individuals who died in the Holocaust will never be forgotten. Entrace and tour of the museum is free.
To visit please call: +972 3-9060105
The Memorial House covers four of the six floors of the Wodislavsky’s house, and includes the following galleries:
Sculpture Gallery – Featuring emotive bronze sculptures by Shmuel Vilenberg, a survivor of Treblinka, depicting memories of his travails, memories, and nightmares in the death camp.
Photo Gallery – Featuring rare photographs that track the chronological events of the Holocaust era, from the invasion of Poland, to deportation to ghettos, to life and death in the ghettos, to the extermination camps, to the selection process, and the mass murder.
Personal Belongings Gallery – Featuring rare items, including a prisoner’s jacket from Auschwitz; yellow Jude stars from Germany; various arm bands and badges worn by Jews and German officials; a Torah scroll singed by flames; rare stamps depicting Nazi iconography, among many other original artifacts.
Letters and Postcards Gallery – Featuring a rare and unique collection of over 350 postcards and letters that were mailed from the work camps and ghettos by Jews.
Lecture Hall – Seats 100 and outfitted with audio-visual equipment and a library. After a tour of the Memorial House, organized groups gather here to listen to survivor testimonies and to view audio-visual presentations.
Mr. Wodzislawski died in 2013. The books publication is dedicated in his memory.
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Contact Person: Netanel Semrik
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