They risked everything to save Jews from Holocaust. Poland pays homage to its righteous
"It's impossible to precisely verify how many Poles were rescuing Jews" - said deputy director of the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) Mateusz Szpytma. "Most common estimation is approximately 300,000" - he added. On March 24, Poland celebrates the National Day of Remembrance of Poles saving Jews under German occupation.
The National Day of Remembrance of Poles saving Jews under German occupation was established by the Sejm in 2018, the initiative came from president Andrzej Duda. It is a homage to all Polish citizens, regardless of nationality, who were helping Jews to escape genocide carried out by German invaders.
The date marks the anniversary of the Ulma family killing perpetrated by Germans military police in Markowa village (today's Podkarpackie province). On March 24, 1944, Józef Ulma, his pregnant wife Wiktoria, six of their young children, as well as eight Jews, of Didner, Grünfeld, and Goldman families, sheltered by the Polish family were all murdered.
On September 13, 1995, the Yad Vashem institute recognised Józef Ulma and his wife, Wiktoria Ulma, as Righteous Among the Nations. In 2010, Polish President Lech Kaczyński honored them with the Commander's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta.
The Righteous Among the Nations, honored by Yad Vashem, are non-Jews who took great risks to save Jews during the Holocaust. Rescue took many forms and the Righteous came from different nations, religions and walks of life. What they had in common was that they protected their Jewish neighbors at a time when hostility and indifference prevailed.
"The murder of the Ulma family – an entire family that was killed together with the Jews they were hiding – has become a symbol of Polish sacrifice and martyrdom during the German occupation" - Yad Vashem wrote on its website.
Źródło: TVN24 News in English, PAP, yadvashem.org