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Poland honors citizens who stood by Jews during the Holocaust

On March 24, President Andrzej Duda honored Polish citizens who risked their lives to save Jews during the Nazi occupation of Poland.

Poland honors citizens who stood by Jews during the Holocaust
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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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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!

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