Wiktoria Ulma holds one of her children Wiktoria Ulma holds one of her children 

Israeli Ambassador Schutz: Sacrifice of Ulma family a 'light for all'

Raphael Schutz, Israel's Ambassador to the Holy See, highlights the extraordinary sacrifice of the Ulma family as a reminder of humanity's debt to those who resisted evil and lost their lives, emphasizing that their sacrifice should not be used for historical revisionism.

By Emanuela Campanile

The story of the Ulma family cannot be fully grasped without understanding the context in which it unfolded.

Situated in southeastern Poland, characterized by numerous small villages and families engaged in agricultural work, this region lack wealth but fosters a vibrant society that coexists with Jews as friends, neighbors, and sometimes relatives.

Jews of Markowa

The town of Markowa, too, has integrated many Jews into its social fabric, as evidenced by the photographs, documents, and artifacts now displayed in the Ulma Museum.

The museum pays tribute to all Poles who defended and aided Jews in escaping the brutality of the Nazis. 

That history has left an indelible legacy written in the blood of numerous Polish families who paid the ultimate price for siding with the Jews by hiding them in attics, cellars, or other secret locations.

Defiance of Nazi laws

In Markowa, among the 120 Jewish residents during World War II, 21 managed to survive extermination due to this generosity.

The tragic fate of other Jewish residents in the village is an integral part of the broader history of Jewish suffering.

Yet, the bravery of many Poles defied the terror imposed by Nazi laws in October 1941, which decreed that anyone assisting Jews would face death.

Following one of the largest massacres of Jews in Markowa in the latter half of 1942, the Goldman and Szall families sought refuge with the Ulmas.

Jozef was already known for his support of Jews. The rest of the story is widely known, although the exact circumstances leading to the discovery of the hiding place in the Ulma house remain somewhat undefined.

Voice of Israeli Embassy

Raphael Schutz, Israel's Ambassador to the Holy See, told Vatican News that the sacrifice of the Ulmas lights a path which everyone should follow, while warning against engaging in historical revisionism.

"The extreme sacrifice of the Ulma family recalls the debt that humanity owes this family and all Righteous Among the Nations who stood up to evil to the extent of losing their lives," said Ambassador Schutz. "Their sacrifice lights the path that we all should follow and should not be used for any kind of historical revisionism."

Who betrayed the Ulma family?

Regarding the betrayal of the Ulma family, there is suspicion that a resident of Markowa may have been the informant.

However, historian Mateusz Szpytma's research points to another possible clue from Resistance documents dated 1944.

According to information released by the Ulma Museum, it is suggested that "owing to personal motives, an officer of the 'blue police,' named for their uniform color, may have disclosed the location to his colleagues in the German gendarmerie" where the two Jewish families were hiding.

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08 September 2023, 21:53