Foundation stone laid at Polish righteous museum
PR dla Zagranicy
A foundation stone blessed by Pope Francis has been laid for a museum commemorating ethnic Poles who aided Jews during World War 2, in Markowa, south east Poland.
The foundation stone is laid at the museum in Markowa. Photo: PAP/Darek Delmanowicz
The institution will be the first of its kind in Poland devoted to 'righteous gentiles' who risked their lives to help Jews during the Nazi occupation.
Wladyslaw Ortyl, marshal (head of the regional assembly) of the Podkarpackie region, declared that Poles should “oppose attempts by the international media to distort our history.”
His remarks appeared to be a reference to the ongoing campaign to stop foreign news outlets from referring to former Nazi German extermination camps as 'Polish death camps.'
He also criticised “politicians who consider themselves to be connoisseurs of history.”
The question of Polish co-responsibility for aspects of the Holocaust has been prominent in the media in recent years. Research by academics such as US-based professor Jan Gross has highlighted crimes carried out against Jews by their gentile fellow citizens, including the Jedwabne pogrom, as detailed in Gross's 2001 book Neighbours.
The museum in Markowa will focus on righteous gentiles from the Podkarpackie region, and the institution will be named in honour of the Ulma family.
The Ulmas, who lived in Markowa, were shot dead by German police on 24 March 1944 after being caught harbouring eight Jews at their home.
Close to 6400 Poles have been honoured as righteous gentiles by Israel's Yad Vashem Institute.
The Markowa museum is scheduled to open in late 2015. (nh)