Renata Zajdman z"l #poland


Stanley Diamond
 

it is with deep sadness that I advise of the passing of Renata
Zajdman on November 27th in Montreal .

Our good friend and colleague Renata was a Holocaust survivor,
one of the children saved by Irena Sendler in Warsaw. Renata
was part of the group that made certain that Irena was well taken
care of in her later years and acted as a consultant in the making
of the movie "The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler".

Renata devoted a great deal of her time ensuring that the horrors
of the Holocaust are not forgotten, but of equal importance, she
shared her knowledge and skills with others to help fellow
survivors in their quest to learn the fate of friends and relatives.

Renata chose Montreal as her post-war home. In the mid 1990s,
as a founding member of the Jewish Genealogical Society of
Montreal, she became quickly immersed in and played a pivotal
role helping the dream of accessing the records in Poland.

Renata was on one of her frequent visits to Poland in May 1995
when she accompanied my cousin Gary Widlitz (CT) on his visit
to Ostrow Mazowiecka. It was their meetings with, and warm
reception >from town officials that inspired Michael Richman and
me to make our first visit to Poland six months later with the goal
of arranging for the indexing of all the records of Ostrow
Mazowiecka that had not been filmed by the LDS.

As for Renata, she had only just begun. One month before
Michael and I left for Poland, Jerzy Skowronek, the late former
Polish State Archives General Director was in Montreal for am
historical conference. Renata was not only the translator when
we entertained Director Skowronek, but passionately transmitted
the importance of the mission that Michael and I were about to
undertake. I will always look back at that evening as one of the
important steps in building the foundation of what ultimately
became Jewish Records Indexing - Poland.

For Renata, helping JRI-Poland was just one of her interests.
Her crusade was to spread knowledge of the Holocaust to
everyone. She was an active member of "Children of the
Holocaust" and the "World Federation of Jewish Child
Survivors of the Holocaust" organizations. She was a tireless
advocate in fostering positive Polish-Jewish relations and
was a founding member of the Montreal chapter of the
Polish-Jewish Heritage Foundation of Canada. And she
frequently traveled around North America sharing her
testimony.

Three weeks ago Renata somehow brought to the surface
once again that inner strength that has been so characteristic
of her in recent years. She journeyed to Halifax to speak at
a special presentation of the Irena Sendler movie. A most
appropriate final public appearance.

Renata has been my dear friend and sounding board, providing
invaluable insights and help whenever needed. I shall miss her.
May her soul be bound in the bond of everlasting life.

Stanley Diamond, Montreal
Executive Director, Jewish Records indexing - Poland
President, Jewish Genealogical Society of Montreal

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