The Museum of Polish peoples who saved Jews during WWII

01/01/16 - 31/12/16
visualisation du Musée visualisation du Musée

MARKOWA is a small district in the Sub-Carpathian Basin, near to the city of Łańcut. In this village lived the ULMA family: Józef, Wiktoria and their 6 young children. The family decided to hide eight Jewish people during the Second World War, following Operation Reinhard in 1942, the aim of which was to wipe out the entire Polish Jewish population. Following a tip-off, the Germans murdered these 16 people: on Polish territory, the help given to Jews was effectively punishable by death (those who had not turned in the Jews and those who helped them were also targeted). In spite of this, there were many Poles who did not hesitate to come to the assistance of their Jewish compatriots. The Ulma family quickly became the symbol of Polish resistance to the Nazi system. In spite of the terror which reigned against Jews and those who helped them, the inhabitants of the village once again hid almost 20 people. It is to pay homage to these men and women of courage that a new museum is to be built: the Museum of Polish peoples who saved Jews during World War II (in Polish: Muzeum Polaków Ratujących Żydów podczas Drugiej Wojny Światowej im. Rodziny Ulmów w Markowej).

>>> The inauguration will take place on 17 March 2016

The initiative which has led to this institution being erected is part of a new sense of momentum to set up museums to which the Polish government has been contributing for almost a decade.  There are already museums such as the one dedicated to the history of Polish Jews or that which honours the Jews of Galicia, which are entirely given over to addressing the subject of the Polish Jewish question. The museum in Markowa is the first undertaking of this type to focus on the action of the Polish Righteous during the Second World War. 

The Markowa museum will first deal with the history of the aid given to Jews by Polish people from the Sub-Carpathian Basins: amongst other things, photographs of Markowa and its inhabitants will be presented. One of the photographers was Józef Ulma, originally a farmer, who was very active on social issues and was passionate about taking pictures. This first topic will then be presented on a broader scale.  
Building work on the museum began in October 2013. The plans were designed Nizio Design International, which previously worked with the Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews and the Warsaw Uprising Museum. At the heart of the narrative for the Markowa Museum is the idea of the risk involved when offering help. The body of the museum represents a house, bringing to mind the architecture which prevailed in the region before the war. Alongside it will be the Memorial Orchard which will bring to mind the monument of Yad Vashem, whilst also remembering Józef Ulma’s love of gardening. 

Józef and Wiktoria Ulma

According to historians, 3,400,000 people of the Jewish faith lived in Poland in 1939, making up around 10% of the total poplation. At the time, the village of Markowa was inhabited by around 4300 chrétiens and 120 Jews (30 families). The Germans exterminated the majority of Jews in 1942, during Operation Reinhard. 21 of those Jews were saved by Polish peasants. On the territory of what is now the voivodeship of the Sub-Carpathian Basin, no fewer than 1600 Poles managed to save around 2900 Jews. Although researchers are still checking their data, current estimates point to more than one thousand Poles who died for trying to save Jews. To date, the Yad Vashem Institute has awarded the title ‘Righteous Among the Nations’ to 6532 people originally from Poland.


The internet sites for the Museum of the History of Polish Jews and Yad Vashem have a lot of information about the Polish Righteous Among Nations. 




Find hereunder the brochure entitled "Deep Roots, New Branches", with papers by Jewish-Polish intellectuals on the Rebirth of Jewish Life in Poland since 1989:

And hereunder a publication by the Galicia Jewish Museum entitled "Time of change: the Revival of Jewish Life in Poland 1989-2004-2014" :

When talking about the Second World War, the press or the internet regularly make the mistake of referring to ‘Polish concentration/extermination camps’ instead of ‘Nazi concentration/extermination camps.’ Such occurrences remain all too frequent. This is why the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum in Oświęcim has produced an application which detects errors of this kind and suggests alternatives based on historical fact. 
You can download the application here: 
This short film will show you how it works:

Picture gallery

FrançaisFrançais NederlandsNederlands EnglishEnglish