Holocaust survivors Irena and her late husband Kuba Wodiskavsky have touched many lives over the years through their establishment of the Heroism and Holocaust Memorial Museum in their private home. The couple invested their time and resources, often under personal hardship, to ensure the story of Holocaust victims will forever be heard. Yad Vashem appropriately recognized them with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Holocaust Education, and Irena accepted the award on behalf of her late husband at a ceremony held at Yad Vashem in early June 2013.
Kuba and Irena met in the late 1970s in Ramat Gan and moved to Ariel. They felt that Israeli youth in the area were not sufficiently educated about the Holocaust, and they made it their lives mission to turn their home into a museum that would educate youth about one of the Jewish people’s greatest tragedies. Four stories of their house are devoted to multiple galleries encasing collections of objects, artifacts and postcards they acquired and often purchased over the years.
Kuba and Irena have made it a point to give the museum items personal context by telling their own stories to visitors. Kuba managed to survive the War upon escaping a work camp, living underground in a pit, hidden by a local peasant (later recognized as the Righteous Among the Nations) who provided Kuba and his fellow refugees with food at night. Irena was three-years-old when war broke out when she too found refuge among a Christian peasant couple.
We thank Yad Vashem for conferring the well-deserved honor on one of Ariel’s most beloved, idealistic, and accomplished couples.