NOTE TO READER:
It has come to my attention that when my blog post is received as an e-mail, that the pictures do not arrive with the text. If you click on the title of the blog post (in blue), it will quickly take you to the blog itself and you can see the pictures that accompany the text. Sorry for any confusion. Karen
FEBRUARY 16, 2017: REPORTING FROM JERUSALEM, ISRAEL
I traveled to Jerusalem to attend the wedding of Mishael Silver and Tali Nahir. It was indeed a joyous and meaningful ceremony and I danced the night away. While I am here I had a meeting with Irena Steinfeldt, the Director of Righteous Among the Nations Department at Yad Vashem. I thank Irena for taking the time to speak to me and explain the process employed to decide who shall be awarded the status of “Righteous Among the Nations.”
The good news is that the file of the Stys family who helped Sam and Esther while they were in hiding, is currently being evaluated. (see above picture outside the barn where Sam and Esther hid during the winter months) We should have an answer soon.
The department that Irena heads has ten employees. They speak many languages and work to prepare a file on the nominated individual(s) or family. They review the information provided and often do additional research. Once the file is prepared, it passes to a commission, made up of volunteers who are survivors of the Holocaust. One member of the commission, who knows the relevant language (in our case – Polish) takes the lead and reads through the file. He or she may ask for additional information if they feel it is needed.
The commission then meets and the lead investigator reports to the group. The other members of the commission may ask questions and then a discussion ensues. A decision is made and then the file goes to the Head of the Commission, retired Israeli Supreme Court Justice, Jacob (Yaakov) Turkel. He has the last word. He assesses the file for both content and procedure. Once he makes his decision, Yad Vashem is informed and the announcement is made.
After the announcement is made, an award ceremony is planned to bestow a hand-caligraphied certificate (the calligraphy is done by a survivor) and an engraved medal on the individual(s) or family. I was hoping that once the announcement about the Stys family is made that the ceremony would take place quickly, as the remaining two Stys children are in their 80’s. But it seems that it can take a few months before the ceremony occurs.
Assuming the answer from Yad Vashem is positive, the ceremony will take place at the Israeli Embassy in Warsaw. Either the Israeli Ambassador or the Deputy Ambassador will make the presentation.
I hope to be there.