Ulma Family: Catholic Church Beatifies a Whole Family for the First Time, in Poland

Ulma Family: Catholic Church Beatifies a Whole Family for the First Time, in Poland

By Charles Igwe

In a momentous occasion of “joy” for Poland, the Catholic Church achieved a historic milestone by beatifying an entire family together for the first time. The Ulma family, consisting of Jozef and Wiktoria Ulma and their seven children, received beatification during a Mass attended by around 30,000 people in their village of Markowa in southeastern Poland. The Ulma family, martyred during World War II for sheltering two Jewish families from the Nazis, stands as a symbol of courage and compassion.

During the beatification Mass, Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, the prefect of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints, acknowledged the somber history of the Ulma family’s sacrifice. He stated, “It would be misleading if the day of the beatification of the Ulma family served only to bring back to memory the terror of the atrocities perpetrated by their executioners, on whom, by the way, the judgment of history already weighs heavily.”

Rather than dwelling solely on the horrors of the past, Cardinal Semeraro emphasized the need to celebrate this day as a “day of joy.” He highlighted the Ulma family’s profound Christian witness and martyrdom, noting that their story had become a lived reality, illuminated in their actions during one of humanity’s darkest periods.

The Ulma family’s tragic story unfolded during Operation “Reinhardt,” which aimed to exterminate all Jews in German-occupied Poland. In late July and early August 1942, the Nazis began deporting approximately 120 Jews from the Markowa area to labor and extermination camps. On December 14, 1942, about 54 Jews in hiding were discovered and shot. However, the Ulma family courageously provided refuge to eight Jewish individuals who remained concealed.

On March 24, 1944, Nazi forces surrounded the Ulma family’s home, discovering the hidden Jewish individuals. Tragically, the Nazis executed them. Jozef and Wiktoria Ulma, along with their seven children, were martyred that day, including their unnamed son who was in the process of being born. The Vatican recently clarified that this child experienced a “baptism of blood.”

Cardinal Semeraro also took a moment to honor the memory of the Jewish friends of the Ulma family who were killed alongside them. Their names were Saul Goldman and his sons Baruch, Mechel, Joachim, and Mojżesz, as well as Gołda Grünfeld and her sister Lea Didner, along with her young daughter Reszla. Poland’s chief rabbi, Michael Schudrich, was among those present at the beatification ceremony.

Beatification marks a significant step in the process of sainthood in the Catholic Church. Those who are beatified receive the title of “Blessed” and may be publicly venerated at the local or regional level, usually within dioceses or religious institutes closely connected to their lives. It stands as a testament to their exceptional holiness and the impact of their lives on the faith community.

Also Read: Slavery is Not an Option

Leave a Reply

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on print
Share on telegram