German officer who helped 'The Pianist' honored as Righteous Among the Nations

Testimony of two Jews, his own diaries earn him honor.

February 16, 2009 20:34
1 minute read.
German officer who helped 'The Pianist' honored as Righteous Among the Nations

wilm hosenfeld 248 88. (photo credit: Courtesy)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

The German officer made famous in Roman Polanski's 2002 film The Pianist for sheltering two Jews who escaped from the Nazis during the Holocaust has been posthumously recognized as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust Memorial said Monday. Wilm Hosenfeld was drafted into the German Army shortly before the outbreak of World War II and was stationed in Poland, where he spent most of the war as a sports and culture officer. During the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, he interrogated prisoners. After the war, Hosenfeld was arrested and tried by the Soviets and sentenced to life imprisonment. His sentence was subsequently commuted to 25 years, but Hosenfeld died in a Soviet prison in 1952. Over the years, the testimony of two Holocaust survivors was presented to Yad Vashem, detailing how the German officer had provided them with shelter from the Nazis. Leon Wurm testified that Hosenfeld employed him at the sports center after his escape from the train to Treblinka, while Wladyslaw wrote to Yad Vashem, as well as in his diaries (which became the basis for the film), that in November 1944 Hosenfeld helped him find a hiding place and that he provided blankets, food and moral support. Yad Vashem had previously considering bestowing the German officer with its highest honor for saving the pair, but waited until it was clear that he was not involved in war crimes during the Warsaw Uprising. Recently, new material, including Hosenfeld's personal diaries, and letters to his wife were reviewed by Yad Vashem, which clarify his "consistent stance" against the Nazi policy toward the Jews, Yad Vashem said. In his writing, Hosenfeld stressed his growing disgust with the regime's oppression of Poles, the persecution of Polish clergy, abuse of the Jews, and, with the beginning of the Final Solution, his horror at the extermination of the Jewish people. Although Hosenfeld supported the Nazi party in its beginnings, it is clear that as he saw the consequences of the Nazis' rise to power, his opposition to them was deep and consistent, Yad Vashem said. Hosenfeld's children, who live in Germany, will receive the medal and certificate on their late father's behalf. More than 22,000 non-Jews have been recognized as "Righteous Among the Nations" by Yad Vashem.

Related Content

Joan Rivers
August 28, 2014
Joan Rivers rushed to hospital following throat surgery