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Józef and Wiktoria Ulma lived in the village of Markowa in what before the war was the Lwowskie province, and now is the Podkarpackie region. The village had four and a half thousand residents.

During the German occupation, most probably in late 1942, despite poverty and risk, the Ulmas gave shelter to eight Jews: Saul Goldman and his four sons whose names are unknown (in Łańcut, they were referred to as the Szalls), and two daughters and a grand-daughter of Chaim Goldman from Markowa – Lea (Layka) Didner with her daughter (name unknown) and Genia (Golda) Grünfeld. Józef and the men he was hiding were tanners. The Ulmas were probably denounced to the Germans for harbouring Jews by Włodzimierz Leś, a navy-blue policeman from Łańcut. On March 24, 1944, in the morning, five German gendarmes and several navy-blue policemen arrived in front of the house of the Ulmas. They were commanded by Lt. Eilert Dieken. They first shot the Jews, and next Józef and Wiktoria (who was in the seventh month of pregnancy). Then, Dieken decided to kill the children. Within a few minutes, seventeen people lost their lives (including the baby whom Wiktoria started giving birth to at the moment of the execution).

In 1995, Wiktoria and Józef Ulma were posthumously awarded the “Righteous Among the Nations” title. In 2010, they were honoured with the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta by the President of the Republic of Poland, Lech Kaczyński. In 2003, the Ulmas’ beatification process was initiated in the Diocese of Przemyśl, and is currently under way at the Vatican.

 

 

 

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