Topics of coins

In Memory of the Ulma Family

Markowa is a village located a few kilometres from Łańcut. On the eve of the outbreak of the Second World War, it had a population of approximately 4,500, including 120 Jews. In the first half of 1942, the Germans introduced restrictions in this area resulting from an ordinance of the Governor-General Hans Frank of 15 October 1941, which included the almost complete blockage of access to Jewish residential areas and a ban on Jews leaving ghettos, as well as the introduction of the death penalty for assistance given to them by the inhabitants of the General Government.

Wiktoria and Józef Ulma had been married since 1935 and had six children: Stanisława, Barbara, Władysław, Franciszek, Antoni and Maria. Working on the farm, they were involved in orcharding and vegetable growing, as well as silkworm breeding and beekeeping. Before the outbreak of war, Józef was socially active in the Catholic Youth Association and also in the Rural Youth Union of the Republic of Poland “Wici”. Józef Ulma was known for his many passions, such as photography, electrical engineering and history. Before her marriage, Wiktoria was a student of vocational courses at the People’s University in Gać, and afterwards she was exclusively involved with children and running a household.

In the autumn of 1942, the Ulma family was asked for shelter by Saul Goldman and his sons: Baruch, Mechel, Joachim and Moses, and at the beginning of the following year, Saul’s relatives, Gołda Grünfeld and Lea Didner with her daughter Reszla.

The help the Ulmas provided to their Jewish friends was likely to be successful, as their house was on the outskirts of the village. On 14 December 1942, though, came a terrifying warning to the villagers in the form of the mass execution of more than 20 Jewish inhabitants of Markowa. The place of execution was visible from the yard of the Ulmas’ house, so it can be assumed that all its inhabitants witnessed the German crime.

More than a year later, tragedy struck the Ulmas’ home itself. In the early morning of 24 March 1944, German military policemen under the command of Lieutenant Eilert Dieken, on the basis of a denunciation, shot to death the Jews who were hiding there and the host family, including Wiktoria, who was in late pregnancy, and all the children. The murdered were buried next to the house – in two separate graves – by local residents who were forced to do so. The house and farm were looted and plundered by the perpetrators. In January 1945, the bodies of the Ulmas were exhumed and moved to the parish cemetery in Markowa, while two years later the remains of the Jewish families were taken and buried in the cemetery in Jagiełła near Przeworsk. Wiktoria and Józef Ulma were honoured with the title of Righteous Among the Nations on 13 September 1995, and on 10 September 2023 Pope Francis proclaimed them blessed.

Twenty one Jews, who were helped by local families throughout the German occupation, were successfully rescued in Markowa.

PhD Marcin Chorązki

The reverse of the coin depicts the Blessed Ulma Family – Józef and Wiktoria and their children: Stanisława, Barbara, Władysław, Franciszek, Antoni and Maria. The heart-shaped amber symbolises the seventh child.

The obverse of the coin features a composition of palm leaf and lily flowers – the palm leaf is a symbol of martyrdom, while seven lily flowers symbolise the innocence of seven children.