Polish Toledo

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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Jews need to get a clue

Gentiles who hid or saved Jews during World War II from Nazi genocide are recognized by Israel’s Yad Vashem institute as “Righteous Among the Nations”.  More than 6,600 Poles have been honored with the title - outnumbering any other nationality.

Now, a museum honoring Poles who saved Jews during the Holocaust is about to open in the southeastern village of Markowa, where Nazis killed a family of Poles for harboring Jews.

Jozef and Wiktoria Ulma

“A photo covered in drops of the victims’ blood is one of the most moving items that we have at the museum,” its director Mateusz Szpytma told reporters.

On March 24, 1944, the Nazis killed Jozef and Wiktoria Ulma and their six children — aged one to eight - as well as the family of eight Jews that they had harbored for more than a year in Markowa.

The history of the family has become a symbol of the “many heroes who, without weapons, stood up to the Nazi regime,” said Dariusz Stola, director of the Warsaw-based Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

The Ulmas posthumously received the “Righteous Among the Nations” honor.

The idea for the museum was born as a counterweight to revelations made by US historian Jan Gross in 2000. In his book “Neighbors” he revealed that in 1941 several hundred Jews were massacred by their Polish neighbors in the town of Jedwabne.

“We know full well that during the war, people had all sorts of attitudes towards Jews,” said Szpytma, adding that the museum provides that historical context.


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