Włodzimierz Sztejn


29 Iyar 5781

Włodzimierz Sztejn (Stein), of blessed memory, son of Naum, was born on 11 May 1913 in Sławuta. Sławuta was a city, in which in 1870 about 65% of the inhabitants were Jewish. Between the two World Wars it was within the USSR, on the border with Poland. During the Second World War the Germans murdered almost all the Jewish inhabitants of Sławuta, and one of the few survivors was Włodzimierz Sztejn.

After the German aggression on the USSR on 22 June 1941 he was taken prisoner as a soldier of the Red Army. In order to hide his Jewish origins he destroyed his documents but had to explain his circumcision. He came up with the idea that he could be a Circassian Muslim soldier, Emir Husein. He knew basic Arabic and Muslim prayers and successfully convinced those around him that he was not Jewish. He escaped during a transfer and hid with a Polish farmer until the Liberation.

Following the end of the War, he lived in Kraków, making his religious knowledge available to the Community. He led prayers in the Remuh Synagogue and was also a Kantor.

He died on 16 July 2013 in Kraków and was buried in the Jewish cemetery on ul. Miodowa in the same city. May he rest in peace.