Piotr Waszkinel and Emilia Waszkinel

All information below comes from
The Encyclopedia of the Righteous Among the Nations
Rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust: Poland
edited by Sara Bender and Shmuel Krakowski
Copyright © 2004 Yad Vashem
The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority,
Jerusalem, Israel
Reproduced with permission of Yad Vashem

During the war, Piotr and Emilia Waszkinel, a childless couple, lived in Swieciany in the Vilna District.  In 1943, Emilia met Batia Weksler, who asked her to adopt her newborn son.  Emilia was afraid to do so, but then finally agreed.  On an appointed day and time, Batia brought the baby, wrapped in a blanket, and put him down on the balcony of the house where Piotr and Emilia lived.  Waiting until the coast was clear and Batia was far away, Emilia stepped out onto the balcony and began screaming, "A baby!  A baby!"  Before the neighbors' very eyes she untied the blanket so that everyone could see the baby was not circumcised.  She then took him into the house.  Emilia and Piotr smothered the baby with warmth and love.  The baby was baptized and given the name Romuald.  Up until the age of 35, Romuald knew nothing of his origins.  In fact, after school he entered the theological seminary in Olsztyn and graduated from the philosophical department of the Catholic University in Lublin.  He remained there as a lecturer.  He did not learn the truth until just before Emilia's death.  After that, he began searching for his biological family.  Some time afterwards, he managed to locate his father's brother and his mother's friend in Israel.  In 1993, he corrected his birth certificate and retook his Jewish family name so that his name became Romuald Jakub Weksler-Waszkinel.  He wrote in his testimony, "My Polish parents provided me with the education I strove for.   Lying on her deathbed, my mother told me the whole truth about my origin.  Then I heard from her:  'You had wonderful parents, they loved you so much--they were Jewish and were murdered.  I was just rescuing you from death. . . . "

On April 25, Yad Vashem recognized Piotr Waszkinel and his wife, Emilia Waszkinel, as Righteous Among the Nations.