On March 24, President Andrzej Duda honored Polish citizens who risked their lives to save Jews during the Nazi occupation of Poland.
As per one report on Statista, more than 17 million people were killed by the Nazis in the Holocaust. In this era of bloodshed, some Polish people fought and even died to save Jews during the Nazi German occupation of Poland. These Polish citizens have been recently honored by Polish President Andrzej Duda. The President took part in nationwide observances on March 24 to honor these brave people.
President Duda spoke at a memorial site in Markowa, a village located in southeastern Poland, as reported by Associated Press. This place carries a special history with it as on March 24, 1944, Nazi forces gunned down and killed a farmer, his pregnant wife, and their six children, along with eight Jews the family was hiding at their farm. Pope Francis has paid his respects to the Ulma family by declaring them, martyrs. In Poland, the family carries immense significance as a symbol of the bravery of the Poles who risked their own lives while helping Jews during WWII.
Today marks 🇵🇱 National Day of Remembrance of Poles Rescuing Jews under German Occupation.— Ministry of Foreign Affairs 🇵🇱 (@PolandMFA) March 24, 2023
Many 🇵🇱 people, including Józef and Wiktoria Ulma and their seven children, were among those who selflessly were rescuing Jews.
March 24 commemorates the execution of the Ulma family. pic.twitter.com/xzeXUOVbFM
Addressing the Markowa Museum of Poles Saving Jews During World War II, Duda highlighted many families in the region and across Poland that hid Jews. In many cases, these families even ensured the survival of the Jews. The names of the Ulmas and other families engraved on plaques are a testament to the fact that there were many people who “behaved in a decent way, whose love of their brethren, Christian values and ethics were stronger than the fear of death, not only theirs but also of their families,” Duda said, reported AP.
The penalty for hiding Jews in Poland was death.— Fr. Alex (@AlexOlszewski) March 24, 2023
Despite this, Jozef and Wiktoria Ulma took in a Jewish family.
On March 24, 1944 they were found out, and the Ulma family was executed with the Jews.
The entire Ulma family, including the unborn baby, will be beatified Sept 10. pic.twitter.com/PK1Fc4Ux8b
This celebration is a crucial step as after invading Poland on September 1, 1939, and taking control of the country, Nazi Germans punished even the smallest acts of kindness to Jews, such as even offering them a glass of water which resulted in the killing of helpers and their families.
Józef Ulma, a man of many talents and family man, had six adorable kids and a loving wife Wiktoria, expecting the seventh.— Institute of National Remembrance (@ipngovpl_eng) March 24, 2023
They lived in Markowa, General Government, occupied Poland.
Giving shelter to two Jewish families, they broke German laws that banned assistance to Jews. pic.twitter.com/BUggbTY3n4
But as is the case with most cruel and testing times, humanity rose to its highest while humans suffered endlessly. To this date, more than 7,200 Poles are listed by Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, who took risks to save Jews. In the years after Holocaust, publications by Historians have led to intense debates about those Poles who turned their backs on their Jewish neighbors or even participated in the killing or victimization of Jews, reported AP.
Today marks the 🇵🇱 National Day of Remembrance of Poles Rescuing Jews under German Occupation.— Poland.pl (@Poland) March 24, 2023
Its purpose is to immortalize the story of the brave Ulma family and others, who were unjustly murdered for helping Jews. pic.twitter.com/SuSeMONiPE
On a geopolitical level, disagreements over the Polish response to the Holocaust have created tensions between Poland and Israel over several years. Unlike other occupied countries, Poland never really collaborated with the Nazis, and resisting politicians and the Polish government-in-exile in London warned Western leaders a few times about the Nazis’ mass killing of Jews. But yet, the loss of people was severe. The Germans, sometimes assisted by some sections of the Polish civilian population, killed some 3 million of the estimated 3.3 million Jews who lived in Poland before World War II and even 3 million non-Jews. After all, one of the most remembered and dreaded Nazi death camps was in Poland, by the name of Auschwitz.
OTD we commemorate the National Day of Remembrance of 🇵🇱s who saved Jews under 🇩🇪 occupation. On 24th March, 1944, the 🇩🇪s murdered the Ulma Family, the Righetous Among the Nations, together with the 8 Jews they were hiding.— Embassy of Poland U.S. (@PolishEmbassyUS) March 24, 2023
This is their story 👇https://t.co/Lo1xH0rojh pic.twitter.com/1iTfE6hIRe
While Holocaust has been condemned everywhere in the world, this Polish celebration of the bravery of the ones who fought with the Jews is a lesson in humanity!