Matylda Getter was a Polish Catholic nun and a social worker who risked her life to save hundreds of Jewish children during the Nazi occupation of Poland. “I’m saving a human being who’s asking for help,” Getter famously said while she was rescuing children through her order’s orphanages and children’s homes. 


As a successful social worker, Getter received many honorable distinctions and founded more than 20 education and care facilities for children in Poland. During the war, Getter declared that she would take in every Jewish child whom she could. Getter and her fellow nuns in the Franciscan Sisters of the Family of Mary collectively saved hundreds of children’s lives from the Warsaw ghetto. Getter and her workers risked their lives to care for the many children in the orphanages Getter founded around Poland. Getter obtained birth certificates for the children and hid them in the order’s educational institutions. 


Getter also helped Jewish adults find safe hiding places during the war. Additionally, Getter and her fellow nuns provided food, shelter, and even false documents for citizens and members of the Polish Underground, a resistance movement during the war.


Getter brought aid to those in need during the war “in the spirit of Christian love and Franciscan joy.” Getter was inspired by her Christian faith to help others, and through her courageous determination, she saved the lives of many during World War II.

Tree Planting Ceremony

Tree Planting Ceremony

Tree Planting Ceremony in honor of Matylda Getter in Israel, Yad Vasham Image: Collection Yad

Matylda Getter

Matylda Getter

Historic portrait of Matylda Getter, Polish Righteous Among the Nations, mother provincial of Franciscan Sisters of the Family of Mary. In German-occupied Warsaw during World War II she cooperated with Irena Sendler and the Żegota resistance organization in saving the lives of hundreds of Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto.