Ralph / Rachmiel Waldman
- based on testimonies of Ralph Waldman, his family and research including at Yad Vashem
Ralph Waldman, was born in Wasniow, near Ostrowiec in 1906, son of Meir and Hinde Gitl Waldman. He moved to Ostrowiec and in 1929 married Pearla and had two young children: Moyshe Myer and Feyge-Rochel. Ralph had a concession to sell liquor and open a liquor store that allowed him to save money that helped save his life during his hiding.
During the Holocaust, his wife and children were sent to Treblinka with most of the town's Jews in October 1942.
Ralph lived in the ghetto andl later in the slave labor camp next to the steel factory. In the summer of 1944, prior to the deportation of all remaining Jews in Ostrowiec to Auschwitz Ralph and two of his friends Harry Fish and Shaya Zweigman escaped from the barracks at the steel factory . After spending time in the fields, the three ran towards the village of Podszkodzie. Andrzej and Helena Sliwka helped to hide them for about six months until liberation.
After the Holocaust he emigrated from Italy where many Jewish refugees were, and moved to London, Ontario , Canada where he had cousins that had a fish business and worked with them.
He married there a cousin Edith Silverstein who was also a survivor.
Ralph and his two friends from the hideout kept in close contact with the Sliwka family that saved them.
When Andrzej Sliwka was ill, they helped send medicine/Penicillin from Canada to Poland (which was hard to get in Poland at the time ). In the 1960s, Ralph (Rachmiel) Waldman helped the family by helping their daughter Elizabeth move to Canada. Ralph helped Elizabeth with the marriage arrangements when she married Richard Bogacki. They even had Kosher food in the Catholic wedding! Later a brother and sister also immigrated to Canada from Poland.
After Edith passed away in 1973 he married Lillian Dressler . After her death in 1991, Ralph moved to Israel in 1992 to be near his brother and to make Aliya to Israel, a country he was very active in supporting via the JNF activities he was involved in for many years. He passed away on Feb 27, 1999.
All of Ralph's siblings: Eliezer,Yechiel,Chaim,Reuven,Yitzkhak Zeev,Kreindel,Heni,Gitl were murdered in the Holocaust except for his brother Alexander Zysia who moved to Palestine in 1936.
Eulogy for Ralph Waldman
written in a London, Ontario "Negev" tribute to Ralph
Ralph died peacefully on Shabbat Zachor, 5759, February 27, 1999, at the age of 92, and was buried in Haifa, In his eulogy, Rabbi Shalom Kurz, formerly Rabbi of Beth Tefilah, now living in Israel, who came to know Ralph well, noted that," for Ralph, special significance can be seen in the fact of his passing away on Shabbat Zachor and his burial on the Fast of Esther. Despite his bereavement at the hands of the Nazis, despite all the pain he was fated to endure, Ralph wasn't known to us as a person engulfed in his troubles or drowning in his pain... Just as Mordechai of old, he had to absorb blows against himself and his people, but he remained always firm, upright, standing for his beliefs and accepting with dignity that which was ordained in heaven. About Ralph it can be said: "There lived a Jew.'... He brought out the best Jewish instincts in us." Truly a fitting epitaph.