Polish President Andrzej Duda Thursday opened the first Memorial honoring Poles who were killed for helping Jews during the Holocaust. There were over 6.000 of them - more than in any other nation.
The Ulma Family Museum is in the village of Markowa, in southern Poland, where German Nazis killed a Polish family - the Ulmas - for sheltering Jews in 1944.
"The museum's mission is to commemorate and spread the knowledge of those Poles who, despite the risk of death sentence, helped Jewish people doomed to extermination by the Third Reich,” a museum statement reads.
"The theme of Poles who saved Jews is to be an important area for Polish diplomacy in the effective fight against stereotypes that hurt Poland and Polish people, and to popularize knowledge and historical memory," Jan Dziedziczak, secretary of state at the foreign ministry said.
The village itself has already been visited by 5,000 young Jews.
The council of the province of Podkarpacie made a decision to build the museum in 2008. Its area of 500 square meters features the Ulma family home, an exhibition room, a lecture hall and a science room. Building works began on 8 October 2013 and were completed in the first half of 2015. The project cost 8.6 million zlotys (about 2.1 million euros).
In 1995, Israel's Yad Vashem institute posthumously honoured Wiktoria and Jozef Ulma as Righteous among the Nations. Their beatification process began in the Przemysl diocese in 2003. In 2004, a monument commemorating them was unveiled in Markowa and in 2010 President Lech Kaczynski conferred the Commander's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta on them.
Israel's Holocaust remembrance institute, Yad Vashem, has bestowed the title of the Righteous Among the Nations on 6,600 Poles who saved Jews during the Holocaust - more than any other nation.
jh/ rg (AP, local Polish media)