President commemorates Polish rescuers of Jews
Aid given by Poles to Jews persecuted by German Holocaust perpetrators is an important part of our historical memory, Andrzej Duda, the Polish president, wrote to commemorate the National Day of Remembrance About Poles Who Rescued Jews Under the German Occupation (March 24).
In his address, printed in the 'Polska Metropolia Warszawska' newspaper, Duda referred to the execution, by the Germans in 1944, of the Ulma family from the village Markowa, southern Poland, who were killed for sheltering Jews.
Duda stressed that thousands of Poles aided Jews during the German occupation of Poland, and many paid for it with their lives. He added that after the war over 7,000 Poles were honoured with Righteous Among the Nations title for rescuing Jews from the Holocaust.
"The suffering experienced by these silent, and sometimes forgotten heroes demands adequate and lasting commemoration," Duda wrote.
In 2018, on Duda's initiative, Poland's parliament established March 24 as the National Day of Remembrance of Poles Rescuing Jews under the German Occupation. This official public holiday was instituted to commemorate the day in 1944 when the Germans executed the Ulma family. Wiktoria and Jozef Ulma hid eight Jews in their home, for which in March 1944 they were executed together with their six children and the Jewish fugitives.
In 1995, Jozef and Wiktoria were posthumously awarded with the title of Righteous Among the Nations. The medals are awarded by the Jerusalem-based Yad Vashem Institute to individuals and families who risked their own lives and the lives of their loved ones to rescue Jews from the Holocaust.