Tadeusz Pankiewicz (November 21, 1908 in Sambor – November 5, 1993 buried in Kraków), was a Polish Roman Catholicpharmacist, operating in the Kraków Ghetto during the Nazi German occupation of Poland. He was recognized as "Righteous Among the Nations" by Yad Vashem on February 10, 1983, for rescuing countless Jews from the Holocaust.
Pankiewicz studied at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. In 1933, he took over the proprietorship of the "Under the Eagle" pharmacy (Apteka Pod Or?em) founded in 1910 by his father Jozef. The pharmacy was situated on Plac Zgody (formerly Ma?y Rynek square) in Kraków's Podgórze district. Its prewar clientele included both Gentile Poles and Jews.
Under the German Nazi occupation of Poland during World War II, Podgórze district was closed off in March 1941 as a ghetto for local area Jewry. Within the walls of the Kraków Ghetto there were four prewar pharmacies owned by non-Jews. Pankiewicz was the only proprietor to decline the German offer of relocating to the aryan side of the city. He was given permission to continue operating his establishment as the only pharmacy in the Ghetto, and reside on the premises. His staff were given passage permits to enter and exit the ghetto for work.
The often-scarce medications and pharmaceutical products supplied to the ghetto's residents, often free of charge, substantially improved their quality of life. In effect, apart from health care considerations, they contributed to survival itself. In his published testimonies, Pankiewicz makes particular mention of hair dyes used by those disguising their identities and tranquilizers given to fretful children required to keep silent during Gestapo raids.
The pharmacy became a meeting place for the ghetto's intelligentsia, and a hub of underground activity. Pankiewicz and his staff, Irena Drozdzikowska, Helena Krywaniuk, and Aurelia Danek, risked their lives to undertake numerous clandestine operations: smuggling food and information, and offering shelter on the premises for Jews facing deportation to the camps.
After World War II
On February 10, 1983, Tadeusz Pankiewicz was awarded recognition as a "Righteous Among the Nations" for his wartime activities in rescuing Jews. In April of that year, he was present at the inauguration of the national heritage museum housed in the Apteka Pod Or?em building. Tadeusz Pankiewicz died in 1993 and is buried in Kraków's Rakowicki Cemetery.
In April 1983, the "Pod Orlem" pharmacy, located at No.18 Plac Bohaterów Ghetta (Ghetto Heroes Plaza, renamed), opened its doors as the Museum of National Remembrance, featuring the history of Kraków Jewry with special focus on the ghetto period. In 2003, it became affiliated with the municipal Historical Museum of Kraków. The wartime activities of Pakiewicz and his staff are featured in an exhibition on the history of the Jewish ghetto in Kraków.
The pharmacy was featured in the Academy Award-winning film, Schindler's List. The film's director Steven Spielberg donated $40,000 for the building's preservation, for which he was honored by the city of Kraków with its prestigious "Patron of Culture" award for the year 2004.