Beatification of the Ulma Family
Polish Family Died For Helping Jews
‘POLAND – The beatification Mass of Józef and Wiktoria Ulma and their seven children was held in Markowa in the Podkarpacie region. The service was presided over by the Pope’s envoy, the Prefect of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints, Cardinal Marcello Semeraro. The Eucharist was attended by President Andrzej Duda with his wife Agata Kornhauser–Duda and representatives of state authorities.
Also present at the ceremony were Ministers at the Chancellery: Grażyna Ignaczak–Bandych, Piotr Ćwik, Wojciech Kolarski and Andrzej Dera.
President Andrzej Duda expressed his gratitude to Pope Francis for including the Polish Ulma Family among the Blessed of the Catholic Church.
– I want to express my gratitude on behalf of the Polish state. For on the one hand, of course, today’s ceremony has a profound spiritual dimension, connected with our religious convictions, our faith and our obligations arising from that faith. But it also has an immensely important state dimension from the point of view of emphasising in an emphatic, institutional manner the historical truth about the times of the German Nazi occupation of Polish lands during the Second World War, about the criminal German legislation in force on this land back then, which was the basic cause of that tragedy and that terrible crime that was committed against a Polish family, the President stressed.
According to the President: “The question can be asked how did it come about that an entire Polish family died for helping Jews”.
Poles lived together with Jews on this land for a thousand years. With various twists and turns of history and various events, the two peoples, also as part of the great Commonwealth of many nations, endured and co–existed, developing their cultures, which very often intertwined and today form part of our Polish culture, Andrzej Duda remarked.
He pointed out that actually the Second World War led to a disaster and interrupted that order since “Germans decided to annihilate the Jewish nation and kill all the Jews living in the Republic of Poland, which they occupied”.
Many Poles gave aid to their Jewish neighbours. The said death penalty – not just for the helpers, but for whole families – was intended to serve as a deterrent, to sow terror. It was under that criminal legislation that the entire Ulma family perished, the President said.
Declaration of the Ulmas as blessed is the first ever beatification of a family in history.
This extraordinary beatification act of the whole family confirms the uniqueness and sanctity of the family as an entity, and at the same time as a social unit which keeps together, which constitutes one and which co–determines its own fate and the way it is, Andrzej Duda emphasised.
The liturgical commemoration of the Ulma Family, by the decision of the Pope, will be celebrated annually on 7 July.
The President and his wife travelled from Markowa to the War Cemetery of Victims of Nazism 1939–1945 in Jagiełła–Niechciałki, where a prayer meeting was held. The Presidential Couple placed a white and red bouquet in front of the Monument to the Jewish Citizens of the Second Polish Republic, murdered in Markowa between 1942 and 1944,
At the necropolis located in the forest in Jagiełła–Niechciałki, 5672 victims are buried, including 131 identified persons in 279 mass graves and in 10 individual ones. Among those buried here are Jews from the Didner, Goldman and Grünfeld families, killed together with the Ulma family.
Subsequently, President Andrzej Duda met with Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints.
On the eve of the beatification of the Ulma Family at the Artur Malawski Podkarpacka Philharmonic Hall in Rzeszów, the Presidential Couple watched a multimedia mystery play entitled “Interrupted Childhood”. It was one of the most important cultural events connected with the beatification celebrations.
The President of the Republic of Poland assumed Honorary Patronage over the events accompanying the beatification. A number of national and international activities and initiatives are coordinated by the Committee for the Celebrations Accompanying the Beatification of the Ulma Family, established in March on the initiative of the President of the Republic of Poland.