The Gebethner family was a very well-known family in Poland. Gustav Adolf was the founder of one of the big publishing houses - Gebethner & Wolff. His grandson, Tadeusz, had other interests. He set up a sports club association called ”Polonia”, and was the first soccer team captain. Gebethner played more than 150 games.
The Polonia club attracted the support of educated people, lawyers, merchants, artists and poets, and unlike other clubs in Poland, it included players of ethnic minorities, including Jews. In 1925, when the Maccabi Warsaw association was founded, it invited the ”Polonia” club to a tournament and Gebethner’s team had beaten the team that came from Tel Aviv.
After Germany attacked Poland on September 1 1939, Tadeusz Gebethner volunteered to the Polish army and fought in the cavalry. After the defeat of the Polish, the soldiers were incarcerated in Lithuania. Tadeusz escaped from prison and came to Vilna, where he found refuge in one of the bookstores of Gebethner & Wolff. There he began his underground activities, which included saving Jews.
Ludwika Abrahamer and her daughter Alina (age 12) came to Warsaw in the summer of 1942 after surviving the massacre at Skawina. They wandered the city, helpless and homeless. In her despair, Abrahamer turned to an old acquaintance, a former manager of Gebethner & Wolff. He wasn’t able to help her but referred her to Thaddeus Gebethner. Although he had never met them before, Tadeusz immediately agreed to accept them at his house. A few weeks later, her husband escaped from a camp and joined them.
Gebethner took the husband to the population registration office at great personal risk and helped him to obtain an identity card under a false name. When the husband needed emergency eye surgery Gebethner found a surgeon who agreed to perform the surgery at his house by candlelight.
As a member of the Polish underground and a colonel in the Polish army, Gebethner had participated in the Polish revolt in August 1944 and was a commander of a combat zone at the Technological University of Warsaw. He was severely wounded in battle. The doctors tried to save his life by amputating his leg, but to no avail. On October 14, 1944, Tadeusz Gebethner died of his wounds at a German prison camp near Magdeburg.
On October 21, 1981, Yad Vashem recognized Tadeusz Gebethner as a Righteous among the Nations.
Tadeusz Gebethner saw the salvation of the Jews as a human duty.
Tadeusz Gebethner (picture courtesy of YadVashem.org)