Plaque commemorating Poles who saved Jews unveiled in southern Poland

Plaque commemorating Poles who saved Jews unveiled in southern Poland. Jacek Bednarczyk/PAP

A plaque commemorating Poles who saved Jews from the Holocaust was unveiled in the presence of Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Science and Higher Education Jarosław Gowin on Sunday in the southern Polish town of Kozłów.

"Nobody is allowed to burden the Polish nation with responsibility for the crimes committed on our Jewish brethren, Polish citizens," Gowin commented at the unveiling ceremony.

The plaque is dedicated to residents of the villages of Wierzbica and Wolica in the Kozłów district, who were murdered along with the Jews they were protecting, by a German punitive expedition on January 29, 1943. The Poles were handed over by one of the Jews after his capture.

"Only when each of us poses the question, what would I do in that situation: would I risk not only my own life but the lives of my children, wife, mother, father, my loved ones, sometimes also neighbours, only then we stand in the face of the huge heroism of these people, who extended help to their fellows," Jarosław Gowin observed during the ceremony.

The deputy PM went on to note that people had gathered to pay tribute to specific people, but through them to pay tribute to everybody who had helped Jews during the Second World War and everybody persecuted by the occupying German forces.

"We are also here in the name of a certain historical truth, the truth about those times and the truth about us Poles," the deputy PM stated. "We do not deny from memory the fact that there were such Poles who informed on hiding Jews, who informed on the Polish families hiding them. Yes, there were such people, but there was also the AK (Home Army - PAP), who passed sentence on them."