National Day of Remembrance of Poles Who Saved Jews Under German Occupation 2021
“In tribute to Polish Citizens – heroes, who, in acts of heroic courage, unparalleled bravery, compassion and solidarity, faithful to the highest of ethical values, in accordance with Christian mercy and the ethos of the sovereign Republic of Poland, saved their Jewish neighbours from the Holocaust which was planned and implemented by the German occupiers” – the introduction to the Act signed by the President of the Republic of Poland.
This public holiday, whose purpose is to commemorate all those who risked their lives to help Jews during the German occupation, was established by the Polish President, Andrzej Duda, in 2018.
The date chosen refers to the tragic story of Józef and Wiktoria Ulma, their six children and the eight Jews who, for almost two years, were hidden by the Ulma family in the attic of their home in the village of Markowa in the Rzeszów region. Among those in hiding were Saul Goldman who, before the war was a local cattle trader and his four sons, whose names are unknown (in Łańcut, they were called “Szall”). The Ulma couple gave them refuge in the attic of their own home. Soon after, those in hiding were joined by the two daughters and granddaughter of Chaim Goldman of Markowa – Lea (Layca) Didner and her daughter (whose name is unknown) and Genia (Gołda) Grünfeld.
It was 77 years ago, on 24th March 1944, that the Germans murdered the Polish family and the hidden Jews. The executions, carried out in front of the Ulma house, was the result of being denounced probably by a Polish “Blue” policeman.
Day of Remembrance 2021: the Story of Wróbel family
“[They were] shot by the police, or rather by the German miltary police, on their own farm. They killed the murdered couple’s livestock and burned down their house and other buildings. Before his death, Jan Wróbel was brutally beaten. His wife’s body was thrown into the fire and was completely burnt”, the course of the crime in Nowy Bidaczów was reported in the documents of the Main Commission for the Investigation of Nazi Crimes in Poland – the Institute of National Remembrance.
POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews ucommemorates Poles who rescued Jews during the Holocaust on its Polish Righteous website, where we present almost 1,000 stories of rescue and discussing in detail the differentiation of attitudes towards Jews during the Holocaust. Every year, on the occasion of the National Day of Remembrance, we present stories of Poles, affected by the worst of German repression – the death penalty for helping Jews.
This year, we supplemented the catalog of stories of repressed people with a story on the crime in Nowy Bidaczów near Biłgoraj (Lubelskie Province), where on 19the November 1942, Jan and Maria Wróbel were brutally murdered by the Germans, probably together with the Jewish family hiding in their house.
The official commemorations of the National Day of Remembrance of Poles who saved Jews under German occupation is organized by the Ulma Family Museum of Poles Saving Jews in World War II, but this year they will be held to a limited extent due to the COVID-19 pandemic. POLIN Museum invites you to take part in the online commemorations – below we recommend selected content on the Polish Righteous website.
- Read the Story of the Ulma Family »
- Read the Story of the Wróbel family [online from 24th March] »
- Read selected stories of Poles who were murdered for helping Jews »
- Learn more about the death penalty for helping Jews in occupied Poland »
- Learn more about the attitude of Poles towards Jews during the Holocaust »
- View oral history accounts from POLIN Museum collection »