Righteous Title Award Ceremony Held at Ulma Family Museum of Poles Saving Jews in Markowa

Redakcja / Editorial staff; English translation: Andrew Rajcher, 10th September 2022
Another ten Polish women were honoured and another ten individuals were posthumously honoured with the title of “Righteous Among the Nations” by the Yad Vashem Institute in Jerusalem. The ceremony of presenting the medals and certificates took place on 6th September 2022 at the Ulma Family Museum of Poles Saving Jews During World War II in Markowa. Those taking part included members of the heroes’ families and descendants of Jews who survived the Holocaust.

“The history of every nation consists of memory and memory is of both good and bad events which, unfortunately, cannot be separated from each other. (…) The chapter of history about the Righteous and about their heroism is a very difficult chapter. It is a difficult chapter because it is difficult to understand. In the Museum, there is the inscription, “Those who rescued were the simplest of people”. If they really were simple, then it is in the best sense of that word, because they could distinguish good from evil.” – Yacov Livne, Israeli Ambassador to Poland.

The Righteous Among the Nations presentation ceremony was organised, by the Israeli Embassy, for the second time at the Ulma Family Museum of  Poles Saving Jews During World War II in Markowa. Apart from the descendants of the Righteous and the Jewish Holocaust Survivors, the event was attended by representatives from state and local governments – Władysław Ortyl, Speaker of the Podkarpackie Province, Ewa Leniart, Podkarpackie Governor and Dr Mateusz Szpytma, Vice-President of the Institute of National Remembrance. Museum Director, Waldemar Rataj, welcomed everyone.

“It is significant that, here in Markowa, where the Ulma family sacrificed their lives in the name of love for their neighbours, other heroes of those inhuman times are honoured. Jadwiga Laska, Aniela and Stanisław Kasieczko, Tomasz Krupa, Maria and Szymon Fołta and their children Antoni, Bronisława, Władysław and Aleksandra – each one represents a separate, dramatic story of the struggle to defend the remnants of humanity in inhuman times. (…) But, even in such extreme times such as war, death or hunger, there people gave testamenty and showed that, in all conditions, human life has its dignity and should be saved. Each rescued person, regardless of nationality, was of priceless value”, said Władysław Ortyl.

Dr. Mateusz Szpytma, Vice-President of the Institute of National Remembrance, said, Our relatives opened their hearts to God, but also their hiding places and cellars to the Jews in hiding. For many, it ended tragically. We are at the Ulma Family Museum, a family who was murdered for hiding Jews. But Szymon Fołta, from Markowa, died in the same way and he will be posthumously awarded the medal of the Righteous Among the Nations”.

Honour for the Righteous

By a decision of the Yad Vashem Institutute in Jerusalem, during a ceremony held on 26th February 2020, the title of Righteous AMonthe the Nations was posthumously awarded to: Jadwiga Laska, Aniela and Stanisław Kasieczko, Tomasz Krupa, as well as Maria and Szymon Fołta and their children Antoni, Bronisława, Władysław and Aleksandra.

“When we teach students in Israel about the Righteous Among the Nations, we ask one question, ‘What would you do if helping another person could endanger you and your family?’ To be honest, I'm not sure how each of us would answer that question. And it is precisely this difficulty in understanding the phenomenon of the Righteous Among the Nations which makes them heroes”, said Yacov Livne, Israeli Ambassador to Poland.

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Information about the procedure of awarding the State of Israel's highest civilian honour, the title of “Righteous Among the Nations”, by the Yad Vashem Institute in Jerusalem, can be found on our portal: Yad Vashem Criteria.