In the village of Markowa, south-east of Łańcut, the first museum in Poland, dedicated to the rescue of Jewish population in occupied Poland during World War II, is located. Opened in March 2016, the Ulma Family Museum of Poles Saving Jews in World War II was designed by Mirosław Nizio, known for his modern design of architectural objects and interiors.
Despite poverty and distress Józef and Wiktoria Ulma gave shelter to eight Jews during German occupation at the end of 1942. The fact of hiding Jews by the Ulma family was reported to the Germans probably by a policeman from Łańcut. In 1944, first the hidden Jewish families were murdered, then Józef and Wiktoria (being seven months pregnant), and then six very young children. Family Ulma put their own lives in danger, respecting the life and values of others.
The death of the entire Ulma family together with the Jews they were hiding has become a symbol of Polish sacrifice and martyrdom during the German occupation. The price that rescuers had to pay for their action was very high in Poland. In Eastern Europe, the Nazis executed not only the people who sheltered Jews, but their entire family as well. This functioned as a warning against helping the Jews. On September the 13th 1995, Yad Vashem recognized Józef Ulma and his wife, Wiktoria Ulma, as Righteous Among the Nations.
In the well-designed interior of the Museum you can see archived documents, videos and pictures. The information is in three languages: Polish, English and Hebrew. Here you can learn about how Jews in the Podkarpackie Voivodship were saved by local people. You will also find lists with the names of people who rescued Jews during the Second World War: a List of Rescuers in the Podkarpackie Voivodeship (scientists from the Department of the Institute of National Remembrance in Rzeszów have evidence of providing help) and a List of Rescuers, murdered in the Podkarpackie Voivodeship, who helped Jews paid with their own lives.
In the middle of the museum you can have a look in the (reconstructed) interior of the house of the Ulma family. The house, once located close to the Museum, doesn’t exist anymore. Recommended age for visiting the exhibition: from the age of 12.
In front of the museum you will find a square with illuminated plaques with the names of Poles murdered because of hiding Jews in their homes. In the middle of the square there is a plaque with the inscription – memorial for the Jewish victims together with their anonym Polish helpers. On the wall next to the museum there is another board with names of inhabitants of the Podkarpackie Voivodship who helped Jews to survive.
In the vicinity of the museum fruit trees form the Orchard of Remembrance devoted to the saved Jews. Along the alleys of the Orchard you will find plaques with the names of cities, towns and villages within the boundaries of Poland in the year 1939, where during the war Poles, risking their lives, protected Jews. In the Orchard only those towns occur, where people lived awarded with the title “Righteous Among the Nations”.
The Ulma family Museum was opened in March 2016. The museum is supervised by the Castle Museum in łańcut, the Government of the Podkarpackie Voivodeship and the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.
The known Polish architect Mirosław Nizio designed not only the Ulma Museum in Markowa but also the prizewinning Museum of Polish Jews in Warsaw and the contemporary Museum in Wrocław. The Ulma Museum building alludes to a primitive country home. The shape of the building is minimalist and austere. This beautiful countryside museum won the Property Design Award 2017 for interior design and exhibition of the Museum. The object was also nominated in the „Polish Architecture 2016” competition in the category for the best interior design of public buildings.
Between the 16th and the first half of the 17th centuries, when the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was one of the largest and most tolerant countries in Europe, a lot of Jews settled mainly in eastern Poland. The country was known as paradisus Iudaeorum (Latin for “Paradise for the Jews”). Just before World War II, more than 3.3 million Jews still lived in Poland, at that time the largest Jewish population in Europe. Also around Łancut many Jews lived and left there traces. They built a wonderful synagogue in the heart of the centre. During the Holocaust the Jewish population was in great danger, but some Poles tried to save them like Józef and Wiktoria Ulma from Markowa.
If you have some time left after your visit to the Ulma Family Museum, you should head for the small but interesting Open air museum in Markowa. Here you can see traditional rural buildings, among others Upper Lusatian houses built by German settlers.
Ulma Family Museum of Poles Saving Jews in
World War II
37-120 Markowa 1487
Phone +48 17 224 10 15
November – March:
Every Sunday you can visit the Museum free of charge.