“Memory of You will never fade until we are alive”

   There are still people with us who experienced the hardships and the tragedies of the II World War. Some of them heroically saved many Jewish lives from complete annihilation by the Germans. In many cases these quiet heroes remained humble about their deeds even after the war. Therefore only a small part of them has been honored for their courage and willingness to sacrifice.

   In 1953 Yad Vashem Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority was implemented in Israel. Its members established Righteous of The World award to commemorate the people who were saving Jews during the war. Currently, there are 6200 names of Poles on this list which accounts for 28% of all Righteous in the world. The  names of the awarded are put on a wall in Yad Vashem’s Garden of the Righteous. Each of the honored also has a tree planted in the Garden.

   Poles who were saving Jewish citizens during the war are commemorated by a monument designed by Czesław Bielecki. The Monument Honoring Poles who Saved Jews During the Second World War comprises of walls built on Shield of David’s plan. There is an inscription “Righteous of the World” on all of its sides. Above the monument one can find a statue of the Polish Eagle ready to fly made of travertine on which there is an inscription “To the Polish who saved Jews between 1939 and 1945” and citations from the Gospel and the Talmud. On the front of the main Monument there is a caption in Polish whereas on its other sides the captions are in Hebrew and English. The walls of the Monument are coming down towards the water which enables the visitors to observe the Shield of David’s plan it was built on from the hill on the opposite side of the lake.

   Not only are there names of individuals on the commemorative plaques but also the names of whole families and even neighbours. It was unique in Poland only (as opposed to the rest of the occupied Europe) that people who hid Jews were facing the death penalty. Even an attempt of sharing food or water with a Jewish citizen could end up with the capital punishment. It was also a concern of other members of the family or neighbours who were aware of those “illegal” actions. In spite of German authorities’ brutality and ruthlessness many Poles found it more compelling to help other human beings that were in need.

   At 8 pm, on the eve of monument’s unveiling, Andrzej Krauze’s concert “The Righteous of this Land” will take place. Oratorio is thought to depict an imaginary journey across the Holy Land from Genesis to modern times. Love Is the Essence of Life is a motto of a concert.

  The monument that will be unveiled on the 27th of August and is expected to be a Jewish-Polish celebration of humanity in the bottomless pit of occupation. We all hope that both the monument and oratorio will inspire the world to remember about the tragic and heroic choices some Polish people made and that are now often forgotten about. It is vital to remember that the Jews would not have been the same people without Polish people and Poland would have been a completely different culturally impoverished country without its Jewish neighbours.  

mkidn  Narodowe Centrum Kultury Narodowe Centrum Kultury

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