The tragic story of the Ulma family – parents Wiktoria and Jozef, along with their six children – who were murdered by the Nazis for hiding Jews, highlights the complexity of Polish-Jewish relations during the Holocaust. For a few, it is a symbol of Polish sacrifice and the joint fate of Poles and Jews under German occupation. For others, it illustrates Polish betrayal of their Jewish neighbors and the bloody end of a thousand years of joint Polish-Jewish life.
The Ulma Family Museum of Poles Saving Jews, which honors Poles who protected Jews during World War II, opened last week in a state ceremony attended by Polish President Andrzej Duda in the southeastern Polish village of Markowa, where the family was executed 72 years ago. Alongside the historic documents and exhibits documenting the dramatic and heartrending story, the museum includes a monument commemorating the Jews who were murdered in the region and another for Poles who, like the Ulma family, paid with their lives to save Jews.