Savior of Jews in Holocaust Gets Tel Aviv Burial

Warsaw native Jerzy Wunsche hid 12 Jews in his apartment during war; Family: he was a very modest man.

The ashes of a Polish man who saved 12 Jews during the Holocaust were buried in the Kiryat Shaul cemetery in Tel Aviv Tuesday, along with those of his wife.

Warsaw native Jerzy Wunsche hid the Jews, who had escaped the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto, in an apartment he rented especially for that purpose. Two of the people he saved in 1943, Yosef Atlasowicz and Miriam Sherman, attended the funeral. Wunsche raised Sherman, who was a baby at the time, for three years after World War II ended; he then handed her over to the Jewish Agency.

Wunsche, who moved to England and Monaco after the war, died about a year ago. At that point, his family discovered that in his will, he had asked to be buried under the tree planted in his honor at the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. His wife Zofia, who died afterward, asked to be buried beside him.

However, burial at Yad Vashem proved impossible, so the museum and Atlasowicz instead arranged for the couple's burial in the portion of the Kiryat Shaul cemetery reserved for righteous gentiles, the term used for non-Jews who saved Jews during the Holocaust. His family flew to Israel for the unusual ceremony.

"He was a very modest man," said Wunsche's son, John. "He thought what he was doing was normal, and that everyone should have done it."