Maria Segal was rescued from the Nazis in Poland by Wanda Hadrysiak, who took 7-year-old Maria in, and passed her off as her own daughter. Maria, an active docent featured in the Portraits of Survival exhibit at Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara, traveled to a "Righteous Among the Nations" ceremony in Bydgoszcz, Poland for a ceremony honoring Wanda and her husband Telesfor on August 10, 2008.
This recognition, arranged for by Portraits of Survival staff, is given through the Yad Vashem Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority in Jerusalem, for those who risked their lives during the Holocaust to save Jews from extermination. The Israeli Ambassador to Poland, the Polish Foreign Minister, local dignitaries, and ,the press were there to honor Maria and her rescuer.
"Because of Wanda, I am alive."
At the very emotional ceremony, Wanda was also awarded honorary citizenship to Israel. The Polish newspaper headlines all carried Maria's statement in their headlines: "Because of Wanda, I am alive."