In March 1945, thousands of Hungarian Jews who had been deported to Austria were taken on a death march to Mauthausen. Joseph Schneider was one of the exhausted, starving victims staggering forward step by step, under constant threat of being shot. Realizing the hopelessness of their situation, Schneider and four of his friends decided to flee the marching column. They managed to slip away and hide in a nearby forest. At a distance they saw a house and determined to seek help. It was in this farm that the five hid until liberation.

In summer 2010, Schneider's rescue story was brought to the attention of Yad Vashem during the visit of his nephew, Dr. Joel Geiderman, then Vice-Chair of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. A search in the Yad Vashem Archives yielded a testimony Schneider had given in 1996, as well as other information about him. Schneider's daughter also submitted a memoir he had written, in which he described their arrival on the farm, hiding in the hayloft, and the dedicated attention they received from the family that owned the farm. "All of us were sick from time to time, running fevers, but Mrs. Porsche took care of us. Occasionally we would go into her house in the evenings, one at a time, so we could clean ourselves up a bit. Then we would return to the loft to watch and wait. Our spirits were raised a little when she came up each day to update us about events at the front."

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Preliminary attempts to find the rescuer family, including calling all the people in Austria with the last name of Porsche, failed. Staff at the Department of the Righteous then turned to the Austrian ambassador to Israel, who asked the local authorities to check their registries. Several weeks later, a response was received that a family with a similar name – Posch, not Porsche – was living in a village with a slightly different name – Gschmaier, not Geshmaya. Anton Posch was asked, as is standard practice, if he had any letters or photographs from the period to verify the story. Three weeks later an envelope arrived. It contained a wedding photo of Joseph Schneider sent in 1954, dedicated "with love" to his rescuers, as well as postcards that Martin Lampert, one of the other escapees, had forwarded to the family from America. Anton, who still lives in the same farmhouse, related that he was nine years old when Wedding photo of Joseph and Anita Schneider, dedicated the men appeared on the farm. His mother Josefa had asked her father Rupert what to do, and Rupert had told her to help them because it was their only chance of survival. Josefa warned her son not to talk about the men in the hayloft.  Once the rescuers' identity had been confirmed, the file was submitted to the Commission for the Designation of the Righteous, which decided to bestow the title of Righteous Among the Nations on the late Josefa and Rupert Posch.

Help us continue to honor these courageous individuals. With your support we can carry on using their unique stories to educate future generations.  Yad Vashem's expansive website, unique educational programs, and emotional museum exhibitions reach out to people around the world, teaching them about the events of the Holocaust, inspiring them with these moving stories, which were a beacon of hope in the darkest of eras. Your support today helps us continue this vital work. Click here to make your donation.
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