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The Polish Diplomats who Issued Paraguayan Passports to Save Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe

May 22

| free program; registration required
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Stefan Ryniewicz was a Polish diplomat and counselor of the Legation of Poland in Bern, Switzerland between 1940 and 1945. He was part of the Ładoś Group that invented a scheme to save Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe by issuing them with passports to Paraguay and then convincing the Paraguayan government to accept their new citizens. Meet his granddaughter, Alexandra MacMurdo Reiter, and author K. Heidi Fishman, whose family was pulled off a transport to Auschwitz on the strength of one of these life-saving passports. Also on the panel is Holocaust historian Dr. Mordecai Paldiel, whose own family was also helped by Ryniewicz.




⇒ May 20-23, watch the film Passports to Paraguay on your home device. A link will be provided to all who register.

⇒ Sunday, May 22 at 4:00 p.m. US Eastern Time, tune into the program with our distinguished panel of guests.  A link will be provided to all who register.




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Alexandra Reiter, right, is the granddaughter of the Holocaust rescuer Stefan Ryniewicz. She is an Associate Professor of Communication at Georgia Highlands College. Alex received her BS in Communication from Florida State University and her Masters in Organizational Communication and Executive MBA from Suffolk University in Boston, MA. In June 2019, Alex accepted the Virtus et Fraternitas medal presented to her by Polish President Andrzej Duda. Only fourteen medals of this type have been given in Polish history. This medal was given posthumously for her grandfather’s bravery in saving Jews in occupied German territory during World War II through the creation of fake foreign passports which saved thousands of lives.  

Screen Shot 2022-03-12 at 5.34.10 PMK. Heidi Fishman, left, is an author and retired psychologist. She has an M.A. and an Ed.D. in Counseling Psychology. While Heidi always knew her mother and grandparents were Holocaust survivors, she didn’t start researching their story until she retired. Five years of investigation led to the multi-award winning Tutti’s Promise which, while fictionalized for the purpose of allowing conversations among characters, follows her family’s true story from May 10, 1940, in Amsterdam through two Nazi camps, liberation, and resettlement; the book contains numerous original documents. Fishman speaks to schools and community groups to teach about the perils of prejudice and bigotry. She is on the board of the Vermont Holocaust Memorial and a member of the International Committee of the Ładoś Group.

Mordecai Paldiel (2)

Dr. Mordecai Paldiel led the Righteous Among the Nations Department at Yad Vashem from 1982-2007, and his own family was helped by Stefan Ryniewicz. His books include The Path of the RighteousSheltering the JewsSaving the JewsDiplomat Heroes of the HolocaustSaving One’s Own: Jewish Rescuers During the Holocaust and The Righteous Among the Nations. He has taught at Yeshiva University and Touro College and serves on the Board of the Sousa Mendes Foundation. Thanks to his efforts, there is a square named for Aristides de Sousa Mendes and a street named for Raoul Wallenberg, both in Jerusalem. He is on the B’nai Brith committee honoring Jewish rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust.


Registration for this program is closed.


May 22
free program; registration required
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