Thanks to the Polish Museum Saving the Jews during World War II From the Ulma family in Markowa, the world learned that the Poles did not set up camp for the Jews, but the opposite: we actively oppose extermination – most of us are Just People Among the Nations. And Markowa is the center of the Righteous, writes Tadeusz Płużański in the latest column for “Super Express”.
“Among those who died helping the Jews were the Ulma family: Józef, Wiktoria, who were in a blessed state, and their six young children. Together with Diders, Grünfelds, and the hidden Goldmans, they were killed in their home in Markowa on March 24, 1944” – we read in the resolution in which the Sejm of the Republic of Poland – by acclamation – paid tribute to all Poles who saved the Jewish people during World War II.
The Ulma Family Museum was opened in 2016 in Markowa in Podkarpacie by the President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda. Because it’s a state matter. The head of state unequivocally called the Poles who saved the Jews heroes, and their tormentors, the Germans, killers. Just as on March 1, the president had no doubt that the Damned Soldiers fought for the independence of the Polish nation, and that the other side – the communist side – were traitors and criminals. A parliamentary resolution from last year also expressed “recognition for the local government of Podkarpackie Province, which, by establishing a national museum, was the first to commemorate this extraordinary heroism on a large scale.”
And in fact, this is the first – not only in Poland, but perhaps in the whole world – a place that tells about the tragedy of the Jews, but takes into account the role of the Poles. Not as a persecutor, but a helper. And, of course, it is not Hitler’s helpers, but the helpers of the Jews – our older brothers, citizens of the Republic of Poland – who are often forgotten. Although we ourselves were destined for the Holocaust, we saved tens of thousands of our Jewish neighbors. Let us emphasize that in all the other Jewish museums in both hemispheres, Poland is presented very differently. We were either silenced or attributed to the worst features, led by alleged anti-Semitism, sucked in with mother’s milk since the Middle Ages – pogroms, genocide.
Even the authors of Polish school textbooks wrote recently that we killed Jews during the war. And how surprising it is that in Great Britain, for example, young Poles had to learn about the “Polish concentration camps”. That is why the Ulma museum is an antidote to the articles in “Die Welt” or “RIA-Nowosti”, the Gross or Grabowski lies. To apologize for Jedwabne Kwaśniewskis or Michniks. The antidote to films like “Aftermath” or “Ida” and series like “Our Mothers, Our Fathers”, with which the Germans could whiten themselves at our expense. “The Poles were threatened with death at any moment, but they tried to help their Jewish neighbours, even foreigners,” repeated Dr. Mateusz Szpytma, vice president of the Institute of National Remembrance, initiator and co-creator of the Polish Museum of Saving the Jews during World War II. The Ulma family in Markowa. Because thanks to Markowa, the world knows that Poles don’t set up camp for Jews, but the opposite: we actively oppose the Holocaust – most of us are Just People Among Nations. And Markowa is the center of the Righteous.
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