About Madritsch

Julius Madritsch was born on 4 August 1906. He grew up in Vienna's Leopoldstadt district, inhabited mainly by Jews. In his class he was one of the few Catholics, and the rest were Jews. During World War II, in Poland occupied by the Germans, he helped to save the lives of Jews by employing them in his factories. He was a close friend with Oskar Schindler.

Julius Madritsch came to Kraków to avoid joining the army. There he founded a factory producing uniforms for the military, in which he hired Jews.They were often employees without training or professional experience in sewing. One of the main goals of setting up the factory was to save as many people as possible. His employees were provided with relatively comfortable working conditions as well as bigger food rations. In order to be able to save even more people, he set up other workshops in Miechów, Bochnia and Tarnów, and after the liquidation of the Cracow ghetto, also at the Płaszów labor camp.

Soon the General Governorate accused him of sabotaging the transports of Jews and obstructing the work of the Gestapo. However, this didn't stop Madritsch, who hired even more Jews, claiming that they were necessary in the war effort. At one point Julius was arrested and imprisoned at Montelupich, but acquaintance with one of the SS officers contributed to his quick release.

After the war ended, he undertook further business ventures, but without success. Many Austrians treated him with contempt as the one who helped the Jews, but the people who owe his life to him didn't forget him. In 1964, at their request, Madritsch was honored by the Yad Vashem Institute in Israel as "The Righteous Among the Nations". The survivors of the Holocaust mention Julius Madritsch in their testimonies and books. His character also appears in several scenes of the Oscar-winning film "Schindler's List" from 1993. Julius Madritsch died on June 11, 1984 and was buried at the Zentralfriedhof (Central Cemetery) in Vienna.

In Tarnów, a city in the south of Poland, east of Cracow, in which Madritsch during the war employed several hundred people, memory of this hero was lost, and his name had been forgotten by Tarnow residents for over 70 years. It was only in 2016, when a group of students from Janusz Korczak High School went on to develop the international "Permeation" project, when they learned about Julius Madritsch and his heroic deeds from the Jewish survivors of the Holocaust whom they contacted by the Internet. Now we want to remind the world about this hero. This is how the "Threads of Life" project was created.

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