European Day of the Righteous

Redakcja / Editorial staff, English translation: Andrew Rajcher, 1st March 2022
Each year, 6th March is commemorated as the European Day of the Righteous. This day was established, in 2012, by the European Parliament to remember those who, at the risk of their own lives, opposed totalitarian regimes in the 20th century. The idea refers to the title of “Righteous Among the Nations” conferred by the State of Israel. We believe that each of us can discover the “Righteous” within ourselves, especially today, in the face of the war in Ukraine.

The Righteous are amongst us. Those, who are not indifferent, who reach out to other people, especially to those who need help. In the face of wars, crime or terrors, they defend human dignity and human rights. They cross borders, creating a community of values. Always – then and today – each of us can be Righteous.

Since 1963, the Yad Vashem Institute in Jerusalem honours non-Jews, who saved Jews during the Holocaust, with the title of Righteous Among the Nations

A 2012 resolution of the European Parliament extended the concept of “Righteous” in order to make it more universdally applicable. As a result, the Righteous are considered to be people who, “motivated by a sense of personal responsibility, opposed crimes against humanity and totalitarianism”. In several dozen countries (including Armenia, Bosnia, Rwanda, Italy and France), Memorial Gardens of the Righteous have been established locally, together with committees awarding this title.

The first and, to date, only Garden of the Righteous in Poland, was established in Warsaw in 2014. It is located at Jerzy Jura-Gorzechowski Square in Muranów, near the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews Those honoured in this garden include Emanuel Ringelblum, Antonina Wyrzykowska, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, Anna Politkowska, Armin Wegner and Antonia Locetelli.

Individuals, honoured by the Committee of the Warsaw Garden of the Righteous, as well as other heroes and organisations whose attitudes reflect the values of the Righteous, serve as role models and guides for others. It is to them that we have dedicated our virtual exhibition – “The Righteous Without Borders - Activities for Human Dignity and Human Rights”.

The exhibition pays specific attention to the contemporary Righteous, who care about the fate of refugees. It goes beyond the virtual world, in order to inspire viewers to take on their own efforts to help. In the exhibition's section entitled “Act, Help”, we provide information about organisations with whom, today, you can actively support those in need.

We draw to your attention this virtual exhibition on the European Day of the Righteous (6th March)  to show solidarity with war-torn Ukraine, supporting Ukrainian men and women  our neighbours.

» See: The Righteous Without Borders - Activities for Human Dignity and Human Rights [a virtual exhibition]