An ordinary Polish family

The tragic fate of the Ulma family

Foreword: In eastern countries, law enforcement had no relation to what could happen in the occupied countries of the West, as in France. In Poland, hiding a Jew was punishable by death and the sentence was carried out immediately. Moreover, this sentence was applied not only to the head of family or whoever had hidden people, but also to all his family, those present at the time of arrest. In fact, entire families were executed after discovery of a cache, often with a disclosure. He was also dangerous for a Polish to hide a Jewish German than its neighbors.

A peaceful family: Markowa is a village of 4,500 people, located 5 kilometers southeast of Stet . where Ulma family, a poor family, Catholic Józef Ulma, lived 44 years, was a graduate of a school of agriculture and exercised of farming, beekeeping and had a breeding silkworms, he came from a poor family. Józef was married to Wiktoria, 32. They simply lived in the small village of Lower Carpathians, with their six children, Stanisława (8 years), Barbara (6 years), Władysław (5 years), Franciszek (4 years), Antoni (3 years) and Maria (18 months). The Ulma family expecting their seventh child and Józef had a passion for photography.
From the beginning of the occupation, Józef was involved in helping a Jewish family and is in the middle of 1942 he decided to hide Jews 8 under his roof. Despite the terrible threat that he posed to his family, he and his wife welcomed a Jewish cattle trader trading name Szall with 4 boys and Golda and Layka Goldman and his daughter.

Wiktoria Ulma et ses six enfants

Wiktoria Ulma and six children

The day of drama

On March 24, 1944, around 5:00 am, a group of 4 German gendarmes from Łańcut and 4 blue police surrounded the family home Ulma following a probable termination of a native of Galicia Polish policeman named Wlodzimierz Lesia had seized the property of the family Szall and hid them so they could cash out their protection. When Szall had exhausted their money while the police had kept their property, he expelled them. As soon as he learned their new cache, he denounced the occupation authorities.

The Germans entered the house and killed all the Jews. They brought out Józef and Wiktoria and executed in front of their house. Before the screams of children Ulma, the German officer Eilert Dieken decided to execution and children were also killed. The blue police attended the scene and carters who had been brought there to retrieve belongings and take the body; they remained all their lives marked by the terrible scene they had witnessed. One German police killed four children and détroussa Golda Goldman valuables. By order of the German, the victims were buried and a week later the men returned to the village and put them in coffins.
Jozef et Wiktoria Ulma

Wiktoria Ulma and Jozef

At least five families Markowa hid more than twenty Jews who survived and went to settle in the United States, Canada and Israel after the war.
One found by the Polish resistance blue police was tried and executed. Lieutenant Eilert Dieken who lived in West Germany was convicted and sentenced by the German court in 1960 but it's turned out that he was already dead. Joseph Kokott, the German officer who executed four children was found in 1957 Czechoslovakia where he was in hiding, he was tried and sentenced by the court of Rzeszów in Poland, his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment and died in prison in 1980.
In 1995, the Ulma family was honored as Righteous Among the Nations and a beatification procedure was initiated in 2003 In 2004, the municipal and regional authorities have unveiled a monument in memory of the Ulma family. The family is buried in the cemetery of Markowa.
Photos of the commemoration of the 69th anniversary of the disappearance of the Ulma family.
Wikipedia article on the Rescue of Jews by Poles during the Holocaust .
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