Open letter from the families of those “Called by name” - Instytut Pileckiego


                                                                                        Brok, 24 November 2019

Open letter from the families of those “Called by name”

On the first meeting of the families of those “Called by name”, a project commemorating Poles who were murdered by the Germans for lending aid to Jews during the Second World War, we would like to take this opportunity to speak up in a way we have previously been unable to. Our stance – the stance of the children and grandchildren of those who died for the act of rescuing others – has so far gone unheard in the ongoing discussion on the significance of commemorating Poles who saved Jewish lives.

The decision of our parents and grandparents was a voluntary and often spontaneous one. One born of solidarity with the victims during an era of hatred. One which changed family histories for generations. The heroic actions of our forebears were criminally punished and orphaned us, violently denying us our siblings, parents and grandparents.

We, the families which suffered so painfully, wish no similar trauma upon anyone. Nevertheless, we consider the actions of our ancestors to be worthy of great respect and we declare our support for the nationwide initiative to commemorate Poles who lost their lives for saving Jews.

We firmly believe that the deaths of our parents and grandparents were not in vain. Even though they were unable to save a single soul in many cases, they nonetheless displayed a valorous Christian bearing. Their fates are a warning against hatred. Their message is extremely important for local communities, for Poland, for Europe and the whole world.

Therefore, they must not be denied their heroism nor must their commemoration be subjected to a moratorium. For us, they are heroes, and memory of them must endure.

We are grateful for the kindness, empathy and support shown by the local communities during the commemoration ceremonies. Today, we are not alone with our experience, nor are we left to our fortunes. We value the idea for the families of the murdered people to meet in order to show mutual support and to help one another.

There are certainly more families like ours. Let us not set aside “calling by name” for another time. This moment comes too late for many of our loved ones, and for the eldest among us, this may be the last chance. Our parents and grandparents have earned this because it is heroes – not traitors – who are commemorated.

The letter was signed by 91 representatives of the families of all those people commemorated by the “Called by name” project: the Lubkiewicz family (commemoration in Sadowne); the Leszczyński and Prusiński families (Poręba-Kocęby); the Skłodowski family (Skłody-Piotrowice); the Radziejowski family (Ostrów Mazowiecka/Płatkownica); the Postek family (Stoczek); the Budziszewski family (Nur); the Krysiewicz family (Waniewo) and the Andrzejczyk family (Czyżew-Sutki).