For 2 1/2 years, her family hid from the Nazis in a stifling dugout, too low to stand upright, too cramped to move, dependent on a Polish farmer for food, water and protection.
A half-century later, Fanya Gottesfeld Heller was reunited Tuesday with her protector's daughter, Irena Sidorovna.
"Thank you," Ms. Heller, who now lives in New York, said in Polish, her eyes filled with tears. "You helped save our lives."
Although providing refuge to Jews was punishable by death, Ms. Sidorovna's father, Izydor Skowlowski, hid Ms. Heller, her parents and her brother Arthur on his farm from 1942 to 1944. Skowlowski, who died a decade ago, was honored for his heroism Tuesday at Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust memorial.
Ms. Sidorovna laid a wreath of flowers in the memorial's Hall of Remembrance and unveiled an inscription listing her father as one of the "Righteous Among Nations."