An Appeal for Assistance 75 Years After Liberation
We are seeking to reunite with the descendants of all those saved by our personal hero, the man we owe our very lives to – Wladimir Riszko z”l.
Until January 18th, 2021 I did not know the name of the man who hid my grandparents, Sara/Salya (nee Sperling) and Chaim Feingold-Bank and my Father, Dov.
My family knew that the hiding place was in Przemysl Poland, that they were hidden for two years between 1942-1944 underground and that there were 16 Jews hidden in all. My dad, who today goes by the name Bruno Dov Bank, was the only child in the hiding place.
We did not know who it was that saved our father and grandparents. Our zeide left this world in 1994 and with him any chance of our knowing, I thought.
But then, suddenly my mother recalled that the man who saved them had married one of the Jews from the hiding place and eventually made their way to New Zealand, where they settled. My grandfather, then, must have had some way of knowing this. Who was the contact? We still do not know.
Throughout the years I searched. Who was it that saved 16 Jews and risked their life to do so? How? Where underground was this hiding place? Who were the others in hiding? These were but some of the enigmas that have haunted me over the years, and I have never stopped searching. You see, as a daughter of a survivor, of two survivor families the echoes of the Holocaust may ebb at times, but they never cease to reverberate within us, the second generation. So I have always searched and probed. Only, until now, my searches led to dead ends.
It was suggested to me to send an email to the New Zealand Holocaust Museum and see how they could help. In truth, I almost didn’t send the email, I mean, what was the likelihood?
In fact, the official response letter from the museum was exactly what I expected to receive. It stated that I had not provided them with enough information and had I contacted Yad Vashem?
However, Dr. Ann Beaglehole, a museum volunteer, herself a survivor and author of a number of books on the New Zealand administration’s immigration policies was shown the email too and she knew the story of Wladimir and Renee Riszko (nee Schildkraut), of how Wladimir heroically saved 16 Jews and had married Renee/Rivka.
On the morning of January 18th, 2021 in my inbox I found two emotional emails from their children, George and Eva. It took only five minutes, with hearts beating fervently for Eva and I to jump on a video call, to verify with the list of hidden Jews she had from her mom that indeed, “Mr. Feingold, wife and child” were three of the sixteen her father had given refuge.
On January 27th International Holocaust Remembrance Day, descendants of seven of the survivors – Rivka Schildkraut, Sara, Chaim and Dov Feingold-Bank, Mejer Dornbusch and his niece Regina Dornbusch and her husband Tobiasz Czuper (Cooper) reunited on an emotional Zoom call. We have found each other, some of us. Our parents’ tribulations and wartime experiences have bonded us, we feel like we have found family.
We are now appealing to you to help us spread this unbelievable story and to help us find the others. This Pesach, when we sit with our families at the seder table and recount both our personal and collective redemptions, we hope to be able to utter the words, L’Shana HaBa’ah B’Yerushalyim, Next Year in Jerusalem, and know that soon we will be embracing one another, descendants of all sixteen of those in hiding, standing together at Yad Vashem to honor Wladimir Riszko as Righteous Amongst the Nations.
FULL LIST OF NAMES:
- Renee Riszko (nee Rivka Schildkraut)(relatives found)
- Mejer Dornbusch (relatives found)
- Regina Dornbusch (relatives found)
- Tobiasz Czuper (relatives found)
- Sara/Salya and Chaim Feingold, Dov Feingold –(relatives found)
- Sam and Max
- Sam and Max’s sister, husband, daughter & brother-in-law
- Sam’s girlfriend, Frania
- Frania’s sister Ruzia- Sam’s nephew, Juzek