The Virtus et Fraternitas Medal has been bestowed for the first time in history. The awards were given by the President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda, acting on a motion of the Pilecki Institute. This unique decoration is an expression of gratitude of the Polish State to those who during the Second World War and, more generally, during the period of totalitarianism, gave aid and succor – in many instances life-saving – to Polish citizens. The Institute recommended 14 persons from various countries for the award. An official Gala was held on 19 June at the Teatr Polski in Warsaw with the participation of the Polish President, Andrzej Duda.
The event gathered many guests, among them the two living awardees, their families and those of the twelve posthumous recipients, and numerous of those who had been saved. During the ceremony we also presented short films outlining the life stories of the 14 nominees.
- The Virtus et Fraternitas Medal is a “special award granted for displaying nobleness of character, fraternity, and goodness of heart, but first and foremost for exceptionally humane conduct, for outstanding humanism, shown in times of great difficulty – stated President Andrzej Duda during his speech – and also later, for remaining steadfast and loyal in memory in times when remembrance was neither recommended nor liked ... Today, ladies and gentlemen, acting on behalf of our Republic I can express our immense gratitude by the award of these medals. For myself – and this I would like to stress – it is a singular honor to be able to present these decorations to such wonderful persons and families, as a symbol of tribute and appreciation – continued the President.