"They Risked Their Lives ..." Exhibition Shown in London

Mateusz Szczepaniak / English translation: Andrew Rajcher, 22 March 2019
To mark European Day of the Righteous, our exhibition "They Risked Their Lives - Poles Who Rescued Jews During the Holocaust" went on display in the British parliament. The exhibition, prepared by the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in conjunction with the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has, since 2013, been displayed around the world. This was its first showing in London.

Today, we commemorate those who, despite their cruel reality, found enough courage and humanity to aid Jews, often at the risk of their own lives.

– Arkady Rzegocki, Polish Ambassador in London.

The showing of the exhibition "They Risked Their Lives ...” in the parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland was organised by the Polish Ambassador in London in conjunction with House of Lord member, Maurice Glasman, together withe the Learning From the Righteous Foundation, as part of the commemoration of the European Day of the Righteous, established in 2012 by the European Parliament.

The event was attended by representatives of the British government, Jewish organisations, the diplomatic corps and the Polish community, as well as by witnesses to the Holocaust and academics studyinging Polish-Jewish relations during World War II.

During the event, teachers spoke of the importance of Holocaust education and shared their experiences from a Warsaw study tour they undertook last year - a part of the Manchester University program Diversity Champions program, which teaches students about diversity, tolerance and respect.

Prof. Antony Polonsky, chief historian of the POLIN Museum, then delivered a lecture on the saving of Jews during the Holocaust while educator, Antony Lishak, talked about the educational activities of the Learning From the Righteous Foundation. The ceremony concluded with a performance by klezmer band "Dunajska Kapelye”.

Petition to Honour the Righteous in London

During the event, the collection of signatures was announced to promote the honouring of people who saved Jews during the Holocaust. This is to be part of the construction of the Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre. Holocaust survivor, Lili Pohlmann, emphasised the need to commemorate the "great humanitarian efforts of the Righteous”.

A monument is to be erected in the Victoria Tower Gardens, next to the parliament buildings. In February last year, more than 170 members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords signed a letter supporting its construction. Co-chairmen of the foundation responsible for its construction are Sir Eric Pickles, special representative of the British government on Holocaust matters and Ed Balls, former Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer. The monument is due to be unveiled in 2021.

This showing of the "They Risked Their Lives ..." exhibtion is the second event organised in the British parliament by the Polish Ambassador in London. In 2018, the Day of Irena Sendler was also commemorated .

* * *

The exhibition was created in 2013 by the POLIN Museum in partnership with the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Since that time, it has been shown in many places around the world - including in Chicago, Düsseldorf, Havana, Madrid, Melbourne, Moscow and Paris. It has been translated into five languages – English, Spanish, German, Russian and Lithuanian.


The exhibition tells the story of the Righteous Among the Nations - Poles who risked their lives, and the lives of their families, to help persecuted Jews. The exhibition shows the fate of the rescuers and the rescued in the historical context of occupied Poland. It explains the scale of help provided and what motivated the Righteous to do what they did.

The exhibition was prepared in the basis of testimonies collected from the Righteous themselves and from those who were rescued. These were collected via the "Polish Righteous – Recalling Forgotten History" internet project of the POLIN Museum. 




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