BUENOS AIRES, MAY 22, 2009 (Zenit.org).- A Polish Catholic woman who served with the underground Polish army and saved a Jewish family from the Holocaust has died in Argentina at age 87.
Janina “Juana” Klein Dylag died Tuesday. She and her husband had emigrated to Argentina in 1948.
Klein Dylag, along with her husband, was a member of the underground Polish army with the rank of sergeant major. Thanks to her actions, the lives of Felicia Erlich and her daughters, Danuta and Irena, were saved from Nazi persecution.
Klein Dylag learned of the plight of the Erlichs during her work in the resistance. Her own narration of their story explained how she saved them: “Felicia, together with her daughters […] had escaped from a ghetto, where her husband was and where he ended up dying. I asked permission from my mother and we gave them refuge.
“They moved into a room in my house and did not go out until the Warsaw Uprising in 1944, because it was noticeable that they were Jewish and it was dangerous for them to be seen. The Nazis could have taken them prisoners or shot them if they were found.”
In 2003, the Raoul Wallenberg foundation honored Klein Dylag for her role in saving the Erlichs.
In view of Benedict XVI’s trip to the Holy Land last week, that foundation launched a worldwide appeal for testimonies like that of Klein Dylag — of Jews saved by Catholics during the Holocaust.