Title Ceremony in Warsaw's Garden of the Righteous

Redakcja/Editorial staff, English translation: Andrew Rajcher 24 September 2021
On 23rd September 2021, in Warsaw's Garden of the Righteous, memorial trees will be planted and symbolic stones will be unveiled, dedicated to people who, in 2020 and 2021, were honoured with the title of "Righteous”. (Due to COVID restrictions, last year's event could not take place.). This year, the Committee of the Warsaw Garden of the Righteous decided to honour Hranta Dink, Julia Ilisińska, Karol Modzelewski, Stanisław Jewgrafowicz Pietrow, Emanuel Ringelblum, Antonina Wyrzykowska and Liu Xiaobo. This seventh annual ceremony will include a performance by world-class pianist Marcin Masecki,

"In 2020, the title of Righteous was awarded to:

  • Karol Modzelewski - social activist, one of the leaders of the democratic opposition in Communist Poland and co-founder of the Third Polish Republic;
  • Stanisław Jewgrafowicz Pietrow - a lieutenant-colonel in the Soviet Army, who saved the world from a nuclear conflict, and
  • Antonina Wyrzykowska who, in Jedwabne (together with her husband) rescued Jews, in opposition to her own community.

In 2021, those selected as Righteous are:

  • Hrant Dink - a Turkish Armenian and advocate for dialogue between the two nations, murdered by a Turkish nationalist;
  • Julia Ilisińska - during the War, she helped Auschwitz-Birkenau priseoners;
  • Emanuel Ringelblum - initiator of the Oneg Shabbat Group and founder of the Warsaw Ghetto underground archive, and
  • Liu Xiaobo - writed, human rights activist in China, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.”

Who are the Righteous?

The Righteous are those who, in the 20th and 21st centuries, defended human dignity during times of war and criminality. In their honour, 6th March was established as the European Day of the Righteous. This was decided by the European Parliament in May  2012 at the initiative of the Committee of the World Garden of the Righteous (GARIWO) in Italy. 

The title of Righteous is only bestowed upon those who have passed away and is awarded on the basis of specific acts.. Three people, who are commemorated in Warsaw's Garden of the Righteous are selected by Warsaw Garden's Committee. The Committee is comprised of outstanding individuals from the worlds of education and culture, and also includes representatives of non-government organisations and public administration.

The first Polish Garden of the Righteous was established in 2014, at the instigation of the History Meeting House and the Italian GARIWO Foundation, with the support of the Mayor of the Wola District. Former Polish Prime Minister, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, was unanimously elected as the first Chairman of the Warsaw Committee of the Garden of the Righteous.

To date, those honoured are Jan Karski, Marek Edelman, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, Anna Politkowska, Magdalena Grodzka-Gużkowska, Antonia Locatelli, Petro Hryhorenko, Nelson Mandela, Hasan Mazhar, Władysław Bartoszewski, Witold Pilecki, ksiądz Jan Zieja, Natalia Gorbaniewska, Jan Jelinek,  Roberto Kozak, Rafał Lemkin, Armin Wegner,  Rev. Adalbert Wojciech Zink, Ewelina (Ewa) Lipko Lipczyńska, Arsienij Rogiński and Raoul Wallenberg.

» View the virtual exhibition: Righteous Without Borders - Activities Supporting Human Dignity and Human Rights

The Warsaw Garden of the Righteous has a special symbolism. It was established in the area of the former ghetto, in the vicinity of Pawiak Prison and the St. Augustine Church, which was the only building to survive the conflagration of war.The Garden is the only place in Poland which combines the memory of various events and experiences. It commemorates the Righteous of many cultures, religions and nationalities.

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Biographies of those honoured, this year, with the title of Righteous can be found here: History Meeting House.

Nominations for the title of Righteous maybe submitted to the Secretary of the Committee of the Garden of the Rightous, Anny Ziarkowska: a.ziarkowska@dsh.waw.pl. The nomination should be accompanied with a biography and reasons for the nomination.

Organiser: History Meeting House
Partners: GARIWO, POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Przepis na Muranów 
Project Strategic Partner: BNP Paribas