The heroic sacrifice of the Ulma family has shone as a beacon of courage and humanity, illuminating a path that all should aspire to follow, according to Israel’s Ambassador to the Holy See, Rafael Schutz. In an article published on the Vatican News website on Friday, Schutz emphasized the importance of recognizing and preserving the legacy of families like the Ulmas, who, in the darkest of times, displayed unwavering compassion and bravery.
The Beatification of the Ulma Family: Honoring Heroic Sacrifice Amidst Darkness
The poignant beatification of Józef and Wiktoria Ulma and their seven children, including an unborn baby, is set to take place on Sunday in the village of Markowa, where they lived and where their incredible story of sacrifice unfolded. In March 1944, the Ulma family met a tragic end for their acts of kindness in aiding Jews during the Holocaust.
Schutz, quoted on the Vatican News website, poignantly articulated, “The extreme sacrifice of the Ulma family recalls the debt that humanity owes this family and all Righteous Among the Nations who stood up to evil to the extent of losing their lives.” He added, “Their sacrifice lights the path that we all should follow and should not be used for any kind of historical revisionism.”
Markowa’s Heroic Heart: Upholding Humanity Amidst the Darkness of History
The Ulma family’s story is a powerful testament to the indomitable human spirit during one of history’s darkest periods. According to the Vatican News article, the town of Markowa had woven many Jewish lives into its social fabric, evidenced by the photographs, documents, and artefacts showcased in the Ulma Museum. This museum serves as a tribute to all Poles who, like the Ulmas, defended and aided Jews in escaping the brutality of the Nazis.
The words written in history are often etched in blood, and Markowa’s history is no exception. Many Polish families paid the ultimate price for their courage and compassion, hiding Jews in attics, cellars, or secret locations to defy the terror imposed by Nazi laws. In the face of the Nazis’ deadly decree in October 1941, which threatened death to anyone assisting Jews, the bravery of many Poles shone brightly.
In Markowa, among the 120 Jewish residents during World War Two, 21 miraculously managed to survive extermination thanks to the generosity and courage of Polish families like the Ulmas.
The Legacy of Heroism: Józef and Wiktoria Ulma and the Network of Polish Righteous Among the Nations
The story of Józef and Wiktoria Ulma is emblematic of the heroism displayed by countless individuals during those dark times. In 1995, they were posthumously honoured with the title of “Righteous Among the Nations” by Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial, recognizing their selfless acts that risked their own lives to save others.
Remarkably, the Ulma family is not alone in this honour. To date, there are 7,232 officially recognized Polish Righteous Among the Nations. These non-Jewish individuals have been honoured for their remarkable courage and humanity, a testament to the unbreakable bonds of solidarity that transcended the horrors of the Holocaust.