NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — Nearly seven decades after surviving the Holocaust, Michael Hochberg has been reunited with the woman who rescued him.
Hochberg stood waiting at JFK with a beautiful bouquet for the woman who saved his life.
Krystyna Jakubowska walked through the door and greeted him an infectious smile.
As CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock reported, both have lived great lives since being separated in 1945. The history they shared in Warsaw, Poland was dark.
Krystyna’s mother Rozalla, a devout Christian, opened her arms to a young Jewish boy during the Holocaust. Michael was just 4-years-old.
“Her mother treated him like her own. He was pretty little boy with great character,” Krystyna’s translator said.
For more than two years the family kept Michael hidden. Only at night could he sneak fresh air under the cloak of darkness. Krystyna, a teenager, said she understood the risk.
“Germans announced very often, in public, on the streets, what would happen if someone is saving a Jew,” she said.
Michael and Krystyna stayed together until 1945, when they were liberated by the Russian Army. Michael was taken from Krystyna and her family and sent to live in a Jewish orphanage.
“I didn’t have much time to say goodbye. The only thing I could do was hug everybody,” he said.
At 18, he moved to Israel, where he still lives today.
“He said that he is very grateful for the family for a saving him, for keeping him, and saving his life,” he explained through a translator.
“She talked when we’re in Poland, we were walking under German guns with this Jewish boy. We were scared,” Stanlee Stahl, Executive Vice President, Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, “What’s magical is that people have the courage to care, but also the courage to act.”
Stahl said the reunion could be the last that they facilitate in the U.S.
“We have three rescuers in Krakov,” he said, “The Jews are too elderly, they can’t travel. It’s 70 years.”
So many years since Krystyna and her family saved one boy’s life, but by saving one they saved an entire family.