back to top

    Polish heroes recognised by President for saving Jews during WWII

    On Friday, President Andrzej Duda of Poland visited a village in the southeast region of the country to pay respect to a Polish family that had been killed for protecting Jews during World War Two.

    In 1944, the Germans brutally killed an entire Polish family, the Ulmas, for protecting Jews from the occupation. In response, in 2018, the Polish president, Andrzej Duda, declared March 24th as the National Day of Remembrance of Poles Rescuing Jews under the German Occupation.

    This date marks the day that the Ulma family, along with their six children and the Jewish people they were sheltering, were executed in the village of Markowa.

    A museum was set up by the government in Markowa to honour Polish individuals who saved Jews during the Holocaust.

    “It is a very important museum (…) The museum commemorates a family who lived and died here, basically giving their lives to helping another human, their compatriots, Poles of Jewish nationality who lived alongside them on this land at a time when the German invader came here, took over the land and started, ruthlessly and brutally, its planned operation of exterminating the Jewish nation,”

    Duda said.

    The president noted that in Poland, assisting Jews during the Nazi occupation was a crime punishable by death—unlike in other countries under German rule.

    “No prison, no deportation, not any other punishment, not even a concentration camp (…) It was the death penalty that was delivered brutally and ruthlessly,”

    he said.

    “Thousands of Poles, from what we estimate at about one million who helped Jews hide at that time, were murdered in that way, most often together with their Jewish neighbours who were under their care,”

    Duda said.

    “Close to six million Polish citizens, including three million of Jewish origin, were killed during World War Two,”

    Duda continued.

    More in section