Acts of kindness

“… In the city of Warsaw no one knew that Mother and I were Jews. We stayed at 64 Zelzenah Street where the Skovroneck family lived on the sixth floor. For two years we lived with them. For two years I did not leave the building. For two years I did not walk around the apartment. For two years I did not go near a window – I would always crawl

underneath. For two years Hanka and Basha did not bring home any friends. It was strictly forbidden to tell anyone that we were in the apartment. It was a secret that was a matter of life and death… No one could know that Mother and I had been hiding in the Skovronecks’ apartment. Whenever the Skovronecks had guests, Mother and I hid in the closet. Once when we had an unexpected visitor, Mother and I did not even have enough time to make it to the clothes closet, so we jumped into the coal-box and Mrs. Skovroneck sat on top of the box until our surprise guest left. If German soldiers should come looking for Jews, and they would come as far as the fourth floor, then Mother and I were supposed to go down to the fifth floor and jump. That way the Germans would never know that we came from the Skovronecks’ apartment and punish them for hiding us. One day, Germans came to search the building, and soon were on the fourth floor. Mother took my hand and was about to take me down with her to the fifth floor as we had promised, Hanka Skovroneck stopped her. She took a large ladder and told us to climb up on the roof of the building. We sat there, petrified, for an hour until Hanka called us to come down. The Germans had come as far as the fifth floor – and left. Mother, Hanka, and I danced wildly around the apartment. It was a dance of happiness, a dance of victory over the forces of evil, a dance of freedom.”

From: “I Wanted to Fly Like a Butterfly”/Yad Vashem Central School for Holocaust Education.

During World War Two, there were non -Jewish persons who helped Jews in various ways such as providing food, connecting Jews to other people who could help them, giving shelter or other kinds of help.  Those non-Jews who helped Jews were taking a very high risk upon themselves, and in many cases, their whole family participated in this humanitarian act. People who assisted the Jews and helped save them while endangering their own lives are called "Righteous Gentiles".

  • We all face difficulties these days and we witness many acts of kindness (חסד) by individuals, groups and communities. 

  • Share with us acts of kindness  (חסד)  from your immediate surroundings ( family, community, etc). If possible add a relevant picture or video. 

  • You are welcome to use your shared platform for uploading your kindness activities or use  the suggested Padlet. 

Together we will add kindness to our world!

This activity is adapted from the lesson plan "Memory suitcase"