“On the morning of 24 March 1944, in the village of Markowa near Łańcut, German military policemen murdered Józef and Wiktoria Ulma and their seven children, as well as the Jews they had been hiding: Gołda Grünfeld, Lea Didner and her daughter, and Saul Goldman and his four sons. The murderers carried out this crime in an inhumanly cruel manner. People were killed when their only ‘fault’ was that they were Jewish. Poles also were killed, the Jewish fellow citizens’ hosts and caretakers, ordinary, non-wealthy farmers who fulfilled the Christian commandment to help their neighbour in need”, wrote Polish President Andrzej Duda on the occasion of the National Day of Remembrance of Poles who rescued Jews under German occupation.
As the President stressed, “this noble command of the heart was followed by thousands of Poles”.
“Many of them paid for it with their own lives, and often with their loved ones. They paid for exercising mercy with torture, exile to a concentration camp, severe beatings, losing their life’s possessions”, Andrzej Duda stated.
The Polish President recalled that over seven thousand of his compatriots, including Józef and Wiktoria Ulma, were honoured with the title of Righteous Among the Nations.
The suffering of these silent, sometimes forgotten heroes demands dignified, lasting commemoration; the crimes of the Nazis need unequivocal moral condemnation and a just reparation”, pointed out the President.
The Polish leader added that the aid that Poles gave to Jews persecuted by the German perpetrators of the Holocaust is “an important part of our historical memory”.
“I have no hesitation in saying that, as a heroic example of solidarity and service to freedom, it co-creates the Polish national identity today”, said President Duda.