Sabina Wolanski, a voice of Holocaust survivors, dies


SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) — Sabina Wolanski, the Holocaust survivor chosen to speak at the opening of a Berlin memorial on behalf of the 6 million Jewish victims of the Nazis, died in Australia.

Wolanski was buried Sunday in Sydney. She was 84.

Born in Boryslaw, Poland, she survived World War II as a child in hiding, passed among Christian families.

Berthold Beitz, an oil manager described as the "Oskar Schindler of Boryslaw," gave Wolanski a false certificate saying that she worked for his company. Her mother was killed at Belzec; her father and brother perished in a slave labor camp.

At the 2005 ceremony opening the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin  Wolanski said that “I am the voice of 6 million murdered Jews, of which one-and-a-half million were children. And I am also the voice of the lucky few — the voice of survivors. I’m the only one of my whole family who survived. I am the witness to the unbearable crimes committed against humanity.”

But, she added, “The children of killers are not killers. We must never blame them for what their elders did.”

The speech spurred her to write her autobiography, titled “Destined to Live,” which included a chapter on Beitz. He was unable to attend the book launch, but they met last year — when she was 83 and he was 96.

Earlier this month, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. screened a documentary on Wolanski’s life. In it she described Beitz as “an amazing man, a hero.”

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