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Rome Reports

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Entire Polish family up for beatification after hiding Jews in their home


Holocaust Memorial Day is Jan. 27, acknowledging the horror committed in the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, along with other genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. 

Yet, one family stands apart during this time period: the Ulma family. Joseph (44) and Victoria (32) Ulma hid eight Jews inside their small house, trying to protect them. 

VLADIMIRO REDZIOCH
Polish Vatican journalist
“The Polish people were also killed for only helping the Jews. This is also something important. The Germans created a law in Poland that for any type of help, even a piece of bread given to a Jew, the person would be killed.”

More than 190,000 Polish people were killed as a result of this law, including the Ulma family: the father, pregnant mother and their six kids, ranging in age from eight to two. 

They were killed on March 24, 1944 by German soldiers, immediately after the soldiers killed the Jews hiding out in the house. 

VLADIMIRO REDZIOCH
Polish Vatican journalist
“To hide these eight Jews meant risking the whole family's life. But they decided to do it for religious motivations. Above all, they were good Christians. For those who helped the Jews, the help was seen as a Christian gesture.” 

As a result, in 2003, a process was opened to research the group of martyrs who hid Jewish people. Yet, in 2017 the Ulma family was set apart, and the Vatican began their own process of beatification and potential canonization. 

VLADIMIRO REDZIOCH
Polish Vatican journalist
“The Congregation for the Causes of Saints recognized this change. Now they have begun the Roman phase of the beatification process for the Ulma family.”

If canonized, the Ulma's would be an exceptionally rare case of raising an entire family to the altars in the Catholic Church as saints.