AP

Poles executed for hiding Jews are declared martyrs by pope

Dec 16, 2022, 7:07 PM | Updated: Dec 17, 2022, 9:13 am

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis on Saturday declared as martyrs a Polish couple who were executed by German police during World War II for hiding Jews in their farmhouse.

A farmer and beekeeper, Jozef Ulma, and wife Wiktoria in the Polish town of Markowa hid several members of the Jewish community, who were being hunted down during the German occupation of Poland. An informant apparently betrayed them, and the Jews were killed by police in March 1944. The couple were then shot to death along with their six young children, the oldest of whom was 8 years old.

Recognition of martyrdom would permit the couple to be beatified, the last formal step before possible sainthood. After beatification, a miracle attributed to their intercession would be necessary for eventual canonization, as the Catholic church’s sainthood process is called.

According to Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, the couple had witnessed the execution of Jews who were seized from their homes during the summer of 1942.

While the search was on for other Jews, a Jewish family of six sought shelter with the Ulmas, who took them in, along with two sisters from another Jewish family, hiding them in the garret of their farmhouse. German police discovered the Jews on the farm and fatally shot them, before they murdered the farmer, his wife, who was seven months pregnant, and children.

According to the Vatican, Pope Francis learned about the Ulma family when he visited Poland during a 2016 pilgrimage. At a public audience in 2018, Francis hailed the family as “an example of faithfulness to God and His commandments, of love for neighbor and of respect for human dignity.”

Poland was the first country invaded and occupied by Nazi Germany in World War II. Members of Poland’s resistance and government-in-exile warned the world about the Nazis’ mass killing of Jews, and thousands of Poles risked their lives to help Jews — even though other Poles murdered or victimized their Jewish compatriots.

Nearly all of Poland’s roughly 3 million Jews were killed by the Germans and their collaborators during the Holocaust, and the Nazis built their major death camps in occupied Poland.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

jerry west...

Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press

Jerry West, a 3-time Hall of Fame selection and the NBA logo, dies at 86

Jerry West, a three-time Basketball Hall of Fame inductee whose silhouette is considered to be the basis of the NBA logo, died Wednesday morning.

11 hours ago

Photo: Construction vehicles are parked outside of the Station U & O building on Tuesday, June 11, ...

Haleluya Hadero, The Associated Press

Amazon adds $1.4B to affordable housing fund for regions where it has corporate offices

Amazon is adding $1.4B to a fund for building more affordable housing in regions where the company has major corporate offices.

1 day ago

hunter biden...

Randall Chase and the Associated Press

Hunter Biden convicted of all 3 felony charges in federal gun trial

Hunter Biden has been convicted of all three felony charges related to the purchase of a revolver in 2018, but no sentencing date was set.

1 day ago

Photo: A Bremerton man who made 20 "swatting" calls around the U.S. and in Canada, prompting real e...

Associated Press

Bremerton man sentenced for 20 ‘swatting’ calls of false threats in US, Canada

A Bremerton man who made 20 "swatting" calls around the U.S. and in Canada, prompting real emergency responses, has been sentenced.

2 days ago

Image: U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, left, speaks with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zele...

Associated Press

Ukraine uses US weapons to strike inside Russia, a Western official tells AP

Ukraine has used U.S weapons to strike inside Russia in recent days, according to a Western official familiar with the matter told the AP.

7 days ago

boeing nasa...

Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press

Boeing launches NASA astronauts for the first time after years of delays

Boeing launched astronauts for the first time Wednesday, belatedly joining SpaceX as a second taxi service for NASA.

7 days ago

Poles executed for hiding Jews are declared martyrs by pope