The Polish Seminary Student and the Jewish Girl He Saved

By Roger Cohen
April 6, 2005 | New York Times

John Paul II met with Edith Zierer for the second time as pope in 2000 at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem.

Here is a family story of Pope John Paul II, an intimate tale of his humanity.

During the summer of 1942, two women in Krakow, Poland, were denounced as Jews, taken to the city's prison, held there for a few months and then sent to the Belzec death camp, where in October they were killed in primitive Nazi gas chambers by carbon monoxide from diesel engines.

Their names were Frimeta Gelband and Salomea Zierer; they were sisters. As it happens, Frimeta was my wife's grandmother. Salomea - known as Salla - had two daughters, one of whom survived the war and one of whom did not.