(JTA) — Stefania Podgorska Burzminski, who as a teenager hid 13 Jews in an attic in Poland for two years during the Holocaust and married one of the Jews she rescued, has died.
Burzminski died on Sept. 29, 2018 at the age of 97 and was buried on Oct. 13 in Los Angeles, where she lived.
Beginning in 1942, the orphaned Catholic sisters Stefania, 16, and Helena Podgorska, 9, hid 13 members of the Diamant family in the attic of their home in Przemysl in southeastern Poland. Stefania had worked in the Diamant family’s grocery store before the Nazi invasion of Poland.
The Diamants remained in the attic for two-and-a-half years and survived the Holocaust. In 1979, the Podgorski sisters were honored as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust authority. The 1996 film “Hidden in Silence,” directed by Richard A. Colli, was based on their story.
Born in Lipa, Poland on June 02, 1921, Stefania moved to Przemysl in her teens, then to Tel Aviv, Boston and eventually to Los Angeles, according to a website set up in her memory.
She married one of the people she rescued, Josef Burzminski (formerly Maks Diamant), to whom she was married for 59 years until his death in 2003. Her sister, Helena Podgorska-Scime, is a physician and lives in Norridge, Illinois.
She suffered from post-traumatic stress syndrome for much of her life and dementia in the last years of her life.