The exhibition features original documents from the IPN Archive's collection, as well as items excavated from the grave of the Ulma family, during the exhumation conducted by the IPN at the cemetery in Markowa. A button from the blouse Wiktoria was wearing when she was shot, soil, nails and fragments of the coffin excavated at the crime scene, as well as a bullet and a shell casing are among the items on display. You can see prayer books and books belonging to Józef and Wiktoria from the collections of Jerzy Ulma, Agata Frendo and Piotr Sagan. The originator of the exhibition is Mateusz Szpytma Ph.D., the Deputy President of the IPN and a relative of the Ulma family.
The intention of the authors was to invite visitors to the private world of the Ulma family and to immerse themselves in the cordial atmosphere of their home. It is based on the local culture, the residents of Markowa involved in handicrafts, also took part in its creation. By learning about the fate of the Ulma family, we can better understand what Christianity and the mercy that flows from it are all about. Wiktoria and Józef, being simple, Modest people, were able to show incredible, even heroic love for their neighbours in those inhuman times.
The opening of the exhibition in Markowa took place on the eve of the beatification of Venerable Servants of God Józef and Wiktoria Ulma and their children. The ceremony, scheduled for 10 September 2023, will be the first time in history that an entire family will be beatified. The guests were welcomed by Dariusz Iwaneczko Ph.D., the Director of the Rzeszów Branch of the Institute of National Remembrance.
The opening of the exhibition was attended by members of Wiktoria and Józef Ulma’s family : including Helena Bogusz - Jozef's niece, Jan Szpytma, the Niemczak, Sagan, Frend, Ceran, and Orzechowski families, and Mateusz Szpytma, the Deputy President of the IPN.
Also present were representatives of local government authorities: Ewa Leniart, Subcarpathian Voivode, Władysław Ortyl, Marshal of the Subcarpathian Province, Mirosław Mac, Mayor of Markowa, representatives of the clergy, parishes, including Waldemar Janiga Ph.D., representing Archbishop Adam Szal, representatives of the border guards, army, prison service.
The Ulma family, their life and their death, exemplifies the Jesus Christ’s sermon on the mountain in Galilee. They became the light of the world and the hope of the world for preserving humanity in the face of the hecatomb, the pandemonium that the Germans and Soviets unleashed in Poland. It is they who today send a signal to the whole world that it is possible to preserve humanity despite this pandemonium, despite the cruelty and despite the evil, because in the world all things have a value that can be replaced, for which an equivalent can be found, but human dignity has a value that goes beyond the space of this world and is born out of the Gospel that they so deeply professed. This is their great victory today for the world, for humanity, for Poland, for our Nation, said Karol Nawrocki, the President of the Institute of National Remembrance during the opening of the exhibition.
Marzena Kruk, the Director of the IPN Archive, which prepared the exhibition, noted that on the one hand, it portrays the murder itself and those who carried it out - the German torturers, but also focuses on those who, in terrible times, showed what humanity truly is.
We hope that this exhibition will inspire you and allow you to rediscover the story of Józef, Wiktoria and their children,and that they willserve as rolemodels for us all.
The exhibition was prepared by the IPN Archive in cooperation with the Ulma Family Museum of Poles Saving Jews during World War II in Markowa, and will be open to the public from September 12 to November 30, 2023.