The Texas Holocaust Donation That Almost Didn’t Happen
DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – Frisco resident Stanley Sztaba remembers how his father would stare at his prison uniform everyday and talk about what happened during the time he spent in concentration camps.
“He was arrested by the German Army, Hitler’s Army, in 1940,” explained Sztaba. “In 1941 he was placed in Auschwitz. He was very sick. His weight was only 60 pounds. Only bones. No meat.”
A Jewish Rabbi eventually brought Stanley’s father to Dallas, where he lived for 45 years with his son. “His wish was, when he passed away, ‘I want you to donate the uniform to Holocaust museum.’ That was his wish.”
So you can only imagine Stanley’s fear when a few months ago, he let a woman he met at church borrow the uniform to take pictures. The woman disappeared with the uniform that had once been appraised at $40,000.
Stanley was distraught. He went to Frisco police, who tracked down the mysterious woman — in Poland. Frisco police Detective C.J. Koski said, “I left a bunch of messages on her phone. I firmly believe she knew why I was calling. And I had to cross my fingers and pray she hadn’t sold the uniform.”
A long span of time had passed when Detective Koski said a joyful Stanley turned up at his office. The woman had finally returned to North Texas and called Stanley, telling him to come pick up his father’s artifacts.
Part of the history of the Sztaba’s was back in the hands of family. Stanley donated his father’s uniform, papers and photographs to the Dallas Holocaust Museum Center for Education and Tolerance. Including the donation from the Stanley, the museum now has four uniforms from POW concentration camps on display.
“We want to keep uniform for the young people, so they never forget what Hitler did to the people during World War II, ” Stanley Sztaba explained. “I’m very happy that his wish came true.”
Stanley said he plans to donate more pictures to the museum when his sister brings them from Poland in May.
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