When the Ulma family beatification takes place Sept. 10 in Markowa, Poland, it will be an unprecedented event in many respects. For the first time in church history, a child born during the murder of the mother will be beatified, along with the child’s six siblings and parents, Józef and Wiktoria Ulma.
The saintly lives and heroic deaths of the Ulma family
The story of the death of the Ulma family, along with the eight Jewish fugitives they sheltered, at the hands of the German occupiers of Poland, is truly compelling.
In 1944, after discovering the eight Jewish people the Ulmas were hiding on their farm near Markowa, Poland, Nazi police executed them. Then they executed 44-year-old Józef Ulma and 32-year-old Wiktoria Ulma, who was advanced in her pregnancy, and their six other children — Stanislawa, 8; Barbara, 7; Wladyslaw, 6; Franciszek, 4; Antoni, 3; and Maria, 1 — as a warning to other Polish families who might try to shelter Jews.
Pope Francis signed the decree recognizing the Ulma family’s martyrdom Dec. 17, 2022, his 86th birthday, paving the way for the Ulmas’ beatification. For beatification, the Church conducts a thorough investigation of the person’s life and writings to determine whether he or she lived a life of heroic virtue, offered his or her life for another, or was killed for the sake of Jesus Christ.
But what is also extraordinary is the everyday life of the Ulma family — a story told in pictures taken by Józef himself. Learn the full story in this mini documentary produced by OSV News — the story of saintly lives lived and deaths heroically faced. It is the people of Markowa, the Ulmas’ relatives and neighbors, who tell the story of the family they remember now — a family that is now celebrated by the universal church.
Reporter: Paulina Guzik
Cameraman: Andrzej Jaskowski
Video editing: Lukasz Krasny
Graphic design: Pawel Weremiuk