‘Today we remember the Poles who helped the Jews during the German occupation. Their stories rarely ended well. They were much more likely to die - they and the Jews they supported. No court, no defence, no spot. Today, thanks to the activities of many cultural institutions, we are restoring their name, restoring their place in history, remembering them,’ wrote Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Culture, National Heritage and Sport Prof. Piotr Gliński on 24th March on the occasion of the National Day of Remembrance of Poles Rescuing Jews under German Occupation. 

 

National Day of Remembrance of Poles Rescuing Jews under German Occupation is a Polish national holiday. It was established on the initiative of the President of the Republic of Poland in 2017. It is celebrated on March 24 – the anniversary of the death of an eight-person Ulma family from Markowa village, shot by German gendarmes.

 

This day was established - as stated in the act – ‘in tribute to Polish Citizens - heroes who, in the act of heroic courage, incredible bravery, compassion and human solidarity, faithful to the highest ethical values, orders of Christian mercy and the ethos of a sovereign Republic of Poland, rescued their Jewish neighbours from the Holocaust which was planned and implemented by the German occupiers’. 

 

‘The international recognized symbol of Polish martyrdom for helping Jews is the Ulma family. At the end of 1942, Józef and Wiktoria, who lived with their six children in Markowa in Podkarpackie Voivodeship, welcomed to their home eight Jews from the Goldman, Grünfeld and Didner families. Everyone, including the seventh child in Wiktoria's womb, was murdered by the German police on 24 March 1944. Józef and Wiktoria were awarded posthumously with the medal of the Righteous Among the Nations and the Commander's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta. The beatification process of the entire family is underway in the Catholic Church,’ wrote the Institute of National Remembrance on their website.

 

This day is an expression of reverence for all Poles who, showing mercy and compassion, helped Jews who were systematically murdered by their German tormentors.