The "Called by Name" exhibition recalls the names of "Called" people, shows their faces, gives them a voice, restores them and their families their rightful place in our collective memory of World War II, said Piotr Gliński, Deputy Prime Minister, head of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, during the opening of the exhibition.
The exhibition was organized by the Pilecki Institute. The exhibition opened in Warsaw's Dom Bez Kantow, in the new exhibition space of the Institute, is the first exhibition that tells the poignant stories of "Called by Name" - Poles murdered during World War II for helping Jews. The nationwide project "Called by the Name" has been implemented by the Pilecki Institute since March 2019. As a result of scientific research and archival searches, the stories of people who paid the highest price for the human reflex to take the persecuted under their roof, and sometimes just for giving them bread, are discovered.
During the ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister Gliński recalled that "Called by Name" is the most aggrieved group of Polish families that decided to help Jews during World War II. "Their stories do not end with a happy end - they and the Polish Jews they supported died. Without trial, without defense - most often at the hands of the Germans. Those who survived lost everything - property, farm, health, willingness to live" - he stressed.
"Until today, neither they nor their descendants have obtained the moral and material satisfaction they deserve in this regard," he pointed out.
The minister of culture said that the exhibition that was to be opened "shows the personal stories of + Called Out +, reminds their names, shows their faces, gives them a voice, restores them and their families their rightful place in our collective memory of World War II, individualizes the victims, symbolically restores them to our community".
As he said, "it is extremely important that more and more people in Poland and abroad get to know + Zawołany +, and by appreciating their self-sacrificing attitude, see the injustice that has hit them".
"The German terror and special legislation paralyzed the reflexes of human solidarity - because naturally man puts the safety of his relatives and family over the good of other people. How difficult it is to be a hero in times of contempt and degradation, totalitarian intimidation. they deserve special memory and deep respect "- emphasized Gliński.
He also pointed out that "Zawołany" deserve "a monument and a place in the history of Poland, but also in the history of Germany and all mankind". "I do not understand and probably no Pole understands why we have been waiting so long in our common Europe for the monument to Polish victims of German terror in Berlin, a monument to 6 million victims, including 3 million Polish Jews and 3 million Poles and representatives of various national minorities of Polish citizens. No I understand and the entire Polish society does not understand why we have been waiting so long for compensation from Germany or even a joint, international appeal to German society and institutions for the return of Polish cultural goods looted during World War II, to which the German minister of culture initially agreed, two years ago "- said the head of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.
The German ambassador to Poland, Arndt Freytag von Loringhoven, said he "comes from a nation of perpetrators". "During World War II, Germans committed barbaric crimes, murdered and persecuted people because of their religion, origin, views, skin color or way of life. These crimes went beyond all imaginable limits, not only in Poland, but here in In a special dimension, they left marks and wounds that will probably never heal "- he emphasized.
"Our German responsibility for the barbarity of National Socialism will never pass away. The Germans acknowledge their responsibility and call the perpetrators by name. The memory must endure, the knowledge of what happened must remain alive, the account of crimes must continue. In this way we can contribute. to the fact that the memory of the victims lasts, as does the memory of the brave who opposed the inhuman barbarism "- he pointed out.
He admitted that he would like his countrymen, the Germans, "to know more about the bestiality committed here in Poland, during the war and the German occupation." "That is why I support the idea of creating a memorial site in Berlin for the victims of war and occupation in Poland," he assured.
The German ambassador noted that "xenophobia, racism and anti-Semitism are gaining momentum today in many parts of Europe, including Germany." He noted that "all leading representatives of the Federal Republic of Germany have always made it clear that there is no room for hatred and campaigns, neither on the street nor on the Internet." "This is also a priority for our presidential membership in the Council of the European Union and our presidency of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance," he stressed. He added that "with humility and deep shame, he bowed to the victims of German crimes and their families."
The minister of culture, referring to the words of the ambassador, said that he appreciated his presence in this place and in the circumstances, at the event. "At the same time, it is my duty as the Polish deputy prime minister to point out that among the causes of the German terror, occupation, and crimes, one must always mention the most likely cause - the national affiliation of the victims" - he pointed out.
"We appreciate the ambassador's assurances and his personal commitment to the issues of remembrance and settlements. We also appreciate the words of the German president - on September 1 in Wieluń such important words were spoken, but we do not see the deeds and facts" - emphasized Gliński.
He noted that the branch of the Pilecki Institute in Berlin opened in September 2019 "has not yet been visited by any high-ranking German politician". "It is incomprehensible for Poles," he stressed.
"The ambassador is saying that high representatives of German politics do not participate in various types of campaigns, including contemporary ones, relating to things that are often raised in the public space and have the mark of very low moral events related to xenophobia and anti-Semitism, but recently words have been spoken of the Vice-President of the European Parliament (Katarina Barley - PAP), a high representative of the German political elite, the words about + economic starvation +, two national communities in a free Europe. Such words require a strong protest, and not only on our part. These words are very characteristic, sad and incomprehensible also in the context of the assurances of the German state and the European elites about the memory and respect for the victims.any national communities in contemporary, free and democratic Europe, stressed Deputy Prime Minister Gliński.
Grażyna Teresa Olton spoke on behalf of the families commemorated in the project "Called by Name". Her grandparents Marianna and Leon Lubkiewicz and uncle Stefan were murdered by the Germans in January 1943 for giving bread to two Jewish women.
"My grandparents were respected inhabitants of our village, they were wealthy, enlightened, they trusted in their stable and good life. My uncle Stefan Lubkiewicz was a gifted boy. Who would he be after the war? A professional musician, engineer, or maybe a doctor? My mother Irena for years she tried to commemorate her parents and brother, no one heard her cries for help. The Yad Vashem medal was awarded after her death, she did not live to see her parents and brother honored, "Olton said.
"Today, after so many years, I have the great honour to open an exhibition devoted to Polish families who helped their Jewish neighbours and were murdered for it. I will never know what profession my uncle Stefan Lubkiewicz would choose, I never met my grandparents, my mother's life was changed into always, she became an orphan, deprived of her family and property. I am glad that for the first time someone noticed that our families were different from the rest of the Righteous. they have no names "- she emphasized. "We will fulfil the Christian condition of forgiveness, but we should know who to forgive" - she noted.
Deputy Minister of Culture Magdalena Gawin, who was the originator of the project "Called by the Name", indicated that the commemorations are carried out to "remind about the price". "There are many righteous in the world, but it was something else to save Jews in Poland, and something else in France or the Netherlands. The exhibition adequately shows the difference - the so-called death penalty, I say the so-called, because it was not related to a court or a prosecutor or a judge, the relatives + of those called by name + die in a terrible way, usually on the spot "- she noted.
She added that the commemorations are also carried out to "give the floor to families". "We repeat and we will repeat that the stories of + Called by name + do not end on the day of the death of their relatives, a very difficult, very difficult stage of life in communist Poland was opening up for the family, which stretched for decades, that no one experienced death as much as the members of families "- pointed out Gawin.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, in a letter read on Friday during the opening of the exhibition, emphasized that the help provided to Jews during the German occupation is "one of the most glorious pages in Polish history", "recorded by the heroic deeds of the Ulma, Kowalski, Baranek families, and the dedication of Jan and Antonina Żabiński and finally the mission of Captain Witold Pilecki and Jan Karski ". "When we mention these world-recognizable names, we remember that among those honoured with the Righteous Among the Nations medal, Poles constitute the largest group, more than 7,000, but we are also sure that we do not know all the nameless heroes who gave testimony of their lives during the times of German terror. humanity "- noted Morawiecki.
He added that the aim of the undertaking summarized on Friday "was to reach the history of these noble people". "In fourteen places in Poland, since March last year, you have honoured the 36 heroes who died at the hands of the German torturer for helping Jews. Sometimes with the whole family, sometimes leaving a wife and orphaned children. The exhibition inaugurated today presents their profiles, the fate of their families and next generations "- he reminded.
Addressing the descendants of the murdered families, the prime minister expressed his gratitude and respect to those who made us "proudly think about the attitude of Poles towards the Holocaust".
The exhibition presents the characters of "Called by Name" - thanks to descriptions, audiovisual and graphic materials (contemporary and archival photos, recordings, scans of documents), as well as through authentic items that belonged to the murdered. The fate of families orphans by the murdered heroes is presented. The context is also shown - the realities of life in those years and the functioning of the German terror machine to which the inhabitants of occupied Poland were subjected. Only the knowledge of this terror allows us to properly understand the stories told here. The exhibition was prepared entirely in two languages, Polish and English.
The Pilecki Institute has already unveiled 14 stones with plaques commemorating a total of 36 people in towns from Podlasie to Lesser Poland. The project also focuses on the fate of the orphaned families of the murdered. It was the families, after the tragic death of their relatives, who for decades suffered extremely painful consequences of German crimes, and often only the families remembered the heroism of their relatives. The Pilecki Institute brings back this memory to local communities and all of Poland. (PAP)
author: Katarzyna Krzykowska, Daria Porycka