Poland is to build a Righteous Among Nations museum dedicated to the thousands of Poles who are commemorated at Yad Vashim in Jerusalem, who saved Jews during WW II Nazi occupation.
The museum is to be built in the village of Markowa, near Rzeszow, southern Poland, where the Ulma family was slaughtered by the Nazis after hiding eight people from two Jewish families. The Nazis raided their house in March 1944 and the Jews were immediately shot: the same fate was later met by the pregnant Wiktoria Ulma and her husband.
Seven members of the Weltz family were also hidden in the barn of Dorota and Antoni Szylar in the same village.
Visitors to the museum will be able to watch multimedia shows and video accounts of the gruesome events during WW II and walk the reconstructed street of a pre-war Jewish town.
“It’s a wonderful idea,” Miriam Akawia, an Israeli novelist who survived Holocaust told the Rzeczpospolita daily.
“Poland should be proud of the Polish Righteous, who were real heroes. During the war Poland was the only country where hiding Jews meant a death sentence. Nevertheless it is the Polish who constitute the biggest group among the Righteous. Over 6,000 Poles put their lives at risk to save Jews. Unfortunately, not many people are aware of that,” she added.
Everybody heard about Irena Sendler, but actually there were thousands of Poles who helped Jews in those terrible times, though in Poland occupied by Nazis it was punished with death.
Henryk S³awik (1894-1944) was a Polish politician, diplomat, and social worker who during World War II helped save 5,000 Hungarian and Polish Jews from Budapest by giving them false Polish passports.
Henryk S³awik was born in 1894 in the village of Szeroka, now a part of Jastrzêbie Zdrój, Poland (then German Empire). The 5th son in a poor peasant family, he was sent by his mother to an academic secondary school. After graduation, S³awik volunteered for the Polish Army. After his term ended he joined the police force and served as a police officer in Silesia until 1939. At the same time S³awik was an activist of the right-wing faction of the Polish Socialist Party.
At the outbreak of the German invasion of Poland in 1939 S³awik joined the Polish mobilised police battalion attached to the Kraków Army. He fought with distinction during the retreat along the northern Carpathians. His battalion was attached to the 2nd Mountain Brigade, with which he defended mountain passes leading to Slovakia.
On September 15 S³awik and his men were ordered to retreat towards the newly established border with Hungary. On September 17, after the Soviet Union joined the war against Poland, S³awik crossed the border and was interned as a prisoner of war. József Antall (Senior), a member of the ministry of internal affairs responsible for the civilian refugees and the father of the future prime minister József Antall (Junior), spotted S³awik in one of the camps. Thanks to his fluent knowledge of German, S³awik was brought to Budapest and allowed to create the Citizen's Committee for Help for Polish Refugees (Komitet Obywatelski ds. Opieki nad Polskimi Uchod¼cami). Together with József Antall he organised jobs for the POWs and displaced persons, schools and orphanages. He also clandestinely organised an organisation whose purpose was to help the exiled Poles leave the camps of internment and travel to France or the Middle East to join the Polish Army. S³awik also became a delegate of the Polish Government in Exile.
The Polish Wallenberg
After the Hungarian government issued racial decrees and separated Polish refugees of Jewish descent from their colleagues, S³awik started to issue false documents confirming their Polish roots and Roman Catholic faith. He also helped several hundred Polish Jews to reach Yugoslav partisans. One of his initiatives was the creation of an orphanage for Jewish children (officially named School for Children of Polish Officers) in Vác. To help disguise the true nature of the orphanage, the children were visited by Catholic Church authorities, most notably by nuncio Angelo Rotta.
After the Nazis took over Hungary in March 1944, S³awik went underground and ordered as many of the refugees as were under his command to leave Hungary. Because he had appointed a new commanding officer of the camp for Polish Jews, all of them were able to escape and leave Hungary. The Jewish children of the orphanage in Vác were also evacuated. S³awik was arrested by the Germans on March 19, 1944. Although brutally tortured, he did not inform on his Hungarian colleagues. During the investigation he acted in a heroic way, taking all the responsibility for saving Jews upon himself and did not admit he knew Antall. He was sent to the Mauthausen concentration camp where he was shot to death, probably in August 1944. His wife survived the Ravensbrück concentration camp and after the war found their daughter hidden in Hungary by the Antall family. S³awik's place of burial remains unknown.
It is estimated that Henryk S³awik helped as many as 30,000 Polish refugees in Hungary, approximately 5,000 of them Jews. After 1948, the communist authorities of both Poland and Hungary did commemorate his deeds and pointed out his importance for humanity. In 1992, thanks to the efforts of Zvi Henryk Zimmerman, the Yad Vashem Commemorative Authority honoured S³awik with the title of Righteous Among the Nations.
S³awik rescued Polish Jews in Germany`s ally, Hungary, while Irena Sendler in occupied Poland.
Irena Sendler (née Krzy¿anowska, commonly referred to as Irena Sendlerowa in Poland; 15 February 1910 – 12 May 2008) was a Polish Catholic social worker who served in the Polish Underground and the ¯egota resistance organization in German-occupied Warsaw during World War II. Assisted by some two dozen other ¯egota members, Sendler saved 2,500 Jewish children by smuggling them out of the Warsaw Ghetto, providing them with false documents, and sheltering them in individual and group children's homes outside the Ghetto.
Sendler was born as Irena Krzyzanowski on 15 February 1910 in Warsaw. Her father, Stanislaw Krzyzanowski, was a physician. Sendler sympathised with Jews from childhood. Her father died in February 1917 of typhus contracted while treating patients his colleagues refused to treat. Many of those patients were Jews. After his death, Jewish community leaders offered to pay for Sendler's education. She opposed the ghetto-bench system that existed at some prewar Polish universities and as a result was suspended from Warsaw University for three years.  World War II
During the German occupation of Poland, Sendler lived in Warsaw (prior to that, she had lived in Otwock and Tarczyn while working for urban Social Welfare departments). As early as 1939, when the Germans invaded Poland, she began aiding Jews. She and her helpers created over 3,000 false documents to help Jewish families, prior to joining the organized ¯egota resistance and the children's division. Helping Jews was very risky—in German-occupied Poland, all household members risked death if they were found to be hiding Jews, a more severe punishment than in other occupied European countries.
Nazi German poster in German and Polish (Warsaw, 1942) threatening death to any Pole who aided Jews
In December 1942, the newly created ¯egota (the Council to Aid Jews) nominated her (by her cover name Jolanta) to head its children's section. As an employee of the Social Welfare Department, she had a special permit to enter the Warsaw Ghetto to check for signs of typhus, something the Nazis feared would spread beyond the Ghetto. During these visits, she wore a Star of David as a sign of solidarity with the Jewish people and so as not to call attention to herself.
She cooperated with the Children's Section of the Municipal Administration, linked with the RGO (Central Welfare Council), a Polish relief organization that was tolerated under German supervision. She organized the smuggling of Jewish children out of the Ghetto, carrying them out in boxes, suitcases and trolleys. Under the pretext of conducting inspections of sanitary conditions during a typhoid outbreak, Sendler visited the Ghetto and smuggled out babies and small children in ambulances and trams, sometimes disguising them as packages. She also used the old courthouse at the edge of the Warsaw Ghetto (still standing) as one of the main routes for smuggling out children.
The children were placed with Polish families, the Warsaw orphanage of the Sisters of the Family of Mary, or Roman Catholic convents such as the Little Sister Servants of the Blessed Virgin Mary Conceived Immaculate at Turkowice and Chotomów. Sendler cooperated very closely with social worker and catholic nun, mother provincial of Franciscan Sisters of the Family of Mary - Matylda Getter. She rescued between 250-550 Jewish children in different education and care facilities for children in Anin, Bia³o³êka, Chotomów, Miêdzylesie, P³udy, Sejny, Vilnius and others. Some children were smuggled to priests in parish rectories. She buried lists of their real names in jars in order to keep track of their original and new identities. ¯egota assured the children that, when the war was over, they would be returned to Jewish relatives.
In 1943, Sendler was arrested by the Gestapo, severely tortured, and sentenced to death. ¯egota saved her by bribing German guards on the way to her execution. She was left in the woods, unconscious and with broken arms and legs. She was listed on public bulletin boards as among those executed. For the remainder of the war, she lived in hiding, but continued her work for the Jewish children. After the war, she dug up jars containing the 2,500 children's identities and attempted to find the children and return them to their parents. However, almost all of their parents had been killed at the Treblinka extermination camp or had otherwise gone missing.
Poles claim that it required about 10 people to effectively hide and rescue one Jew. This argument is used to point to enormous difficulties that had to be overcome in order to save Jews.
But, alas, who really created those difficulties? Germans? Not really. It was other Poles or renegade Jews who were ready to inform Gestapo about hiding Jews or, on most occasions, to use the knowledge to extort money from them.
That is why the hiding sites had to be changed so often because if the Jews stayed in one place for too long, it was sure to be given away sooner or later.
That makes the Jew rescuers even more heroic and it doesn`t matter if they did it for money or pure human pity.
Many stories of the rescue contain this give-away element:
Franciszka Abramowicz born 1899 – died 1990 Recognized as the Righteous Among the Nations: 14 January 1987
Help Was Extended to:
Story of Rescue
October 2009, Virtual Shtetl Project
Franciszka Abramowicz, during World War II, she hid a Jew, Sender Dyszel, in her home in Miêdzyrzec Podlaski.
At the time of danger he was hiding in the cellar. When the neighbours denounced on him to the occupation authorities, he had to hide in the nearby forest for some time, where Franciszka brought him food. When the matter trailed off, he returned to her home.
In 1947, Sender Dyszel left Poland and settled in Argentina.
If you want to read all hundreds of stories before I publish sojme of them ,you can find them here in ABC order:
Some people, I guess, in the old Poland, will do anything for money, to feed there families.
Not only in Poland Mike, in the Netherlands of the Second world war too. Like you said earlier in some post somewhere else. The main reason for betrayal and collaboration was money. The first reason, some others were real idiots, they believed in Nazism, or were pathological anti-semites!
Poles honoured for saving Jews 07.07.2011 12:29 Israel’s ambassador in Poland, Mr Zvi Rav-Ner bestowed honorary citizenship on two Poles yesterday for their families’ roles in saving Jews during World War II.
“Those who saved a single Jew saved an entire family, and an entire nation,” the Israeli ambassador said.
“Those who saved us are very modest people; they do not regard themselves as heroes. They did what – as they put it – they had to do,” Ambassador Rav-Ner added.
Wladyslaw Porebski was twelve years old when in 1943, his parents took in Jewish refugees at their property in the Beskid Mountains.
A specially-built shelter was created at the barn that adjoined the family house in the village of Bujakow. Amongst those aided were Adela Grunfeld and her son Leon, who had fled from the Nazi-run ghetto in the city of Sosnowiec in southern Poland.
Likewise, in July 1942, two Jewish sisters, Regina and Helena Schreiber, fled the ghetto in the south-eastern Polish city of Stalowa Wola. They pinned their hopes on an old school colleague, Marta Miazgowicz.
Regardless of the risks involved – potentially death sentences for the entire family – the Miazgowicz family provided shelter to the Schreibers for several months, eventually organising false papers that allowed the sisters to work in Germany as Polish labourers, thus surviving the war.
Krystyna Miazgowicz-Slezinska, daughter of Marta, received the honorary citizenship yesterday. Their father, who celebrated his 100th birthday this month, was not well enough to take part in the ceremony.
Wladyslaw Porebski was able to receive his honorary citizenship in person.
Both families have already been awarded with the medals of the Righteous Among Nations by Israel’s Yad Vashem Institute.
Polish family who sheltered Jews in WWII commemorated in parliament 23.03.2017 12:29 An exhibition dedicated to the Polish Ulma family, who were killed for sheltering Jews during WWII, has been opened in the Polish parliament.
Wiktoria and Józef Ulma. Photo: muzeummarkowa.podkarpackie.pl.Wiktoria and Józef Ulma. Photo: muzeummarkowa.podkarpackie.pl.
The exhibition, titled “The Samaritans of Markowa”, referring to the Ulma family’s home village in southeastern Poland, features photos and documents which show the family as well as the life of the Polish and Jewish communities in the area.
On 24 March 1944, German policemen shot eight Jews who were being sheltered by Józef and Wiktoria Ulma. Józef Ulma, his pregnant wife, and their six children were also killed.
In 1995, Israel's Yad Vashem institute posthumously named the Ulma family Righteous Among the Nations. In 2003, the Roman Catholic Church in Poland initiated a process for the family to be beatified.
A museum named after the family, dedicated to Poles who aided Jews during World War II, was opened in Markowa last year.
Over 6,600 ethnic Poles are commemorated in Israel's Garden of the Righteous in Jerusalem for aiding Jews during World War II.
The exhibition in the Polish parliament will remain open until March 27.
The video tells the story of the Ulma Family from Markowa whose all members were executed by Germans during WWII in occupied Poland for saving Jews.
Yes, Ulma family are the best known example of Poles who lost their lives for helping their Jewish neighbours. However, there were hundreds of other Poles who also died for such help but whose names are less known to the public.
One day I am going to make a big photo story from my visit to Schindler`s Museum in Krakow. For now, only two photos of German lists of executed Poles - some died for helping Jews. They were average Poles whose names are recorded somewhere in deep archives, not popularised by the media.
Witold Sygiericz, Kazimierz Rachtan, died for hiding Jews. That was only Krakow district and only 1943.
Museum of Poles Saving Jews during World War II The Ulma family in Markowa near Łańcut commemorates Poles who saved Jews condemned to extermination.
The first post in this thread was written in 2010 and it tells about the plans to build a museum. Now I can see it`s been finished. Good.
PS. I also changed the title of this thread by adding "was punished with death" Let it be the thread only about Poles (or Jews who also tried to save their compatriots) who died saving Jews during the occupation.
Diplomat who used fake passports to save hundreds of Jews during WWII named Righteous Among the Nations History Joanna Jasińska April 18, 2019
The illegal passports were paid for by Jewish groups, while the Polish diplomats acted as the middlemen, giving bribes or producing the fake passports. Twitter/@plinswitzerland/Polski Przegląd Dyplomatyczny
A Polish diplomat who saved the lives of hundreds of Jews during WWII by giving them false passports is to be named a Righteous Among the Nations, according to reports.
According to daily newspaper Haaretz, the Yad Vashem Institute in Jerusalem has said WWII consul Konstanty Rokicki will be honoured for issuing the fake Latin American passports which helped hundreds of Jews escape the Holocaust in Nazi occupied Poland.
Konstanty Rokicki was a consul in Bern, Switzerland, where together with other Polish diplomats led by the ambassador, Aleksander Ładoś, his deputy Stefan Ryniewicz and diplomat Juliusz Kuehl, they produced fake documents from lists provided by two organizations, the Jewish rescue committee RELICO in Geneva and Zurich rabbi Chaim Eissem.
Hundreds of people were saved in the operation by Polish diplomats at the Polish Embassy in Bern during WWII.Ministry of Culture and National Heritage
The so called the Bern Group comprised of Polish diplomas prepared passports for those in danger of deportation to get them out of Europe, mainly to Paraguay, but also Honduras, Peru, Salvador, Bolivia and Haiti.
The illegal passports were paid for by the Jewish groups, while the Polish diplomats acted as the middlemen, giving bribes or producing the fake passports. On many of the documents, the names are written in the same hand – Rokicki’s.All the Paraguayan documents prepared by the consul were backdated to December 1942 to prevent discovery.
The heroics of Rokicki and the Bern Group were recently uncovered by Polish diplomats and recognized in a ceremony in October last year, with President Andrzej Duda present.Ministry of Culture and National Heritage
Adam Daniel Rotfeld, later on the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs was one of those, who received the counterfeit documents.
The list includes many more important names: writer Rabbi Avraham Yaakov Finkel, the chief rabbi of the Netherlands, Aron Schuster, historian Nathan Eck, as well as Slovak and Będzin ghetto underground leaders.
It is estimated that between 1941 and 1943, Rokicki (pictured) produced thousands of illegal Paraguayan passports which served as protection documents for Jews stranded in the Nazi ghettos in German-occupied Poland and who were threatened with deportation from German-occupied Netherlands. He also bribed the Paraguayan honorary consul to obtain blank passes which he then filled out with the names of Polish Jews.Public domain
Konstanty Rokicki will be the 6707th Pole recognized for aiding Jews during Holocaust.
After the war, he stayed in Lucerne, Switzerland, not wanting to serve the Communist regime. He died in 1958, after suffering from illness for several years.
Sample visa issued by Rokicki in Riga, 1935, and used to access British Palestine.Huddyhuddy
Rokicki’s and the Bern Group’s deeds were recently uncovered by Polish diplomats and recognized in a ceremony in October last year, with President Andrzej Duda present.