Jerzy Bielecki Dies at 90; Fell in Love in a Nazi Camp
By DENNIS HEVESI
Published: October 23, 2011
Jerzy Bielecki, Polish patriot.
Jerzy Bielecki was 19 years old, Roman Catholic and suspected of being a member of the Polish resistance when he was arrested by the Nazis in June 1940 and transported to Auschwitz, where the number 243 was tattooed on his arm.
Nearly three years later, Cyla Cybulska, her parents, her two brothers and her younger sister were crammed into a train with thousands of other Polish Jews and shipped to Auschwitz. Only Cyla — No. 29558 — would survive. Because of Mr. Bielecki.
Theirs was a tale of love and courage that would continue to resonate despite the nearly 40 years during which they were separated, both believing the other had died.
For his daring rescue of that one Jewish woman, Mr. Bielecki was recognized in 1985 as one of the so-called righteous gentiles by Yad Vashem, Israel’s center for Holocaust research and education. He died Thursday at 90 in Nowy Targ, Poland, said Stanlee Stahl, executive vice president of the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, which assists non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews.
Jerzy Bielecki in 2010. Alik Keplicz/Associated Press