National Day of Remembrance of Poles Who Saved Jews

Klara Jackl, 23rd March 2018
A new public holiday has been declared – 24th March will be the "National Day of Remembrance of Poles Who Saved Jews During German Occupation". The date was chosen in memory of the Ulma family who were murdered by the Germans on that day in the village of Markowa near Rzeszów.

The national holiday was created at the initiative of the Polish President Andrzej Duda. It is intended to honour all those Poles who, during the Holocaust, extended help to Jews. The introduction to the Bill, which was signed by the President on 20th March 2018, reads:

In tribute to those Polish citizens – the heroes who, in heroic acts of courage, incredible bravery, compassion and solidarity, faithful to the highest of ethical values, Christian commandments of mercy and the ethos of the Republic of Poland, saved their Jewish neighbours from the Holocaust which was planned and implemented by the German occupiers.

The date selected for this holiday is symbolic. It relates to the tragic story of Wiktoria and Józef Ulm, their six children and the eight Jews whom the Ulms hid in the attic of their home in Markowa for two years  On 24th March 1944, the Germans murdered the Polish family and the Jews they were hiding – members of the Szall and Goldman families. This came as the result of being denounced by a Polish policeman.

Read the story of the Ulma family

To commemorate this public holiday, at 10:45pm on 24th March, TVP Historia will screen the documentary "Ocaleni", produced by POLIN Museum and created by Joanna Król and Karolina Dzięciołowska. The central figures of this film are Polish Holocaust survivors. It tells the dramatic story of what shaped their wartime fate and is a testimony to both the greatness of man, his dedication and immense kindness, but also of the evil dormant within him. More about the film»