Honored for their Sacrifice: The Ulma Family Museum in Markowa

The Memorial Family Museum of tragically murdered Józef and Wiktoria Ulma was officially opened on March 17 in Markowa in the South-East of Poland. Józef and pregnant Wiktoria Ulma, along with their six children, were shot and killed by the Nazi Germans on March 24th, 1944, in Markowa, for hiding Jews in their home during the Holocaust. They also killed the 8 Jews hiding in the Ulma house.

To commemorate this fact, on March 17, the Georgian National Parliamentary Library played host to a global exhibition ‘Good Samaritans from Markowa’ for the known and unknown names of Poles who were murdered for assisting Jews during the Second World War. In the spotlight was the Ulma Family. The exhibition was opened in the Georgian capital alongside events being held in 28 countries simultaneously, prepared in 14 languages, including Georgian, Chinese, Burmese and Thai. The opening of the Museum in Markowa was attended by the high officials of the country, including the President of Poland, Mr. Andrzej Duda.

Live videos were screened in the following cities: Vienna, Brasilia, Paris, Tel Aviv, Toronto, Vilnius, Berlin, Hamburg, Dusseldorf, Oslo, Bern, Bangkok, Rangoon, Washington, Chicago, New York and Rome.

The exhibition in Tbilisi was organized by the Polish Embassy in Georgia, Ivane Javakhishvili, Tbilisi State University and the International Fund ‘Lea.’ It was opened by Andrzej Cieszkowski, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Poland, who mentioned that the Museum of the Ulma family refers to not only this particular household but also to all the Polish who tried or succeeded in the salvage of Jews from Nazis. “Assisting Jews during World War II was a very courageous act from anyone in Polish society. They knew that helping Jews would earn them capital punishment, yet they risked their lives for them. By opening the Ulma Museum, we want to honor every one of them and first of all the Ulma family itself,” Ambassador Cieszkowski told GEORGIA TODAY.

Darejan Tvaltvadze, vice Rector of Tbilisi State University, said, “I think those who saved the life of at least one person in the War saved his own soul and made his own small but significant contribution to the salvaging of Mankind. Over 6 million Jews died in this horrific war. Grigol Peradze, graduate of our university, who went to Poland and was a lecturer at Warsaw University, is a person who unites us – Georgians and Poles – in this kind business. This sin of Nazis has no boundaries. But limitless, too, is the kindness of the heroes.”

Over 6,600 ethnic Poles are commemorated in Israel’s Garden of the Righteous in Jerusalem for aiding Jews during World War II. And in 1995, Israeli Yad Vashem, the Authority of Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance, posthumously bestowed the Ulma family the titles of ‘Righteous among the Nations.’ On the 60th anniversary of their execution, a stone memorial was erected in the village of Markowa to honor their memory.

Poland’s diplomatic missions abroad are very much engaged in the numerous events marking the launch of the Ulma Museum as well as in raising awareness of those Poles who risked their lives to save Jews during the Nazi German occupation of Poland. The Ulma Museum will stand as the first place of its kind to commemorate the brave acts of the selfless Poles. Polish embassies and the Polish government kindly invite all to see the exhibition at the Ulma Family Museum in Markowa.

Maka Lomadze with Meri Taliashvili

24 March 2016 20:57