Sunday 28th January, 5-6:30pm, POSK Theatre, 238-246 King Street London W6 0RF
The POSK Theatre presents a poignant historical drama about one of Polish history’s most important families, the Ulmas.
Polish language performance with live English subtitles!
Watch a Preview here:
The theatre performance “The Righteous. The History of the Ulma Family” is a powerful journey into the past. Drawing on this year’s exhibition at the Polish Institute of National Remembrance, it shows a window into the lives of the Ulma family, and the story of their heroism and tragedy.
Józef Ulma was a man of great curiosity and inventiveness. He kept an extensive library of books covering everything from electrical engineering, to photography, and the use of wind power on the farm, and worked hard in the service of the social and technological betterment of his community.
In his village of Markowa, in the Polish province of Podkarpacie, Ulma opened the first tree sapling nursery, introduced the first grafted apple trees, and was instrumental in the development of beekeeping and silkworm farming techniques.
In summer 1942, having begun the Second World War by brutally invading Poland in 1939, Nazi German forces imposed a ban on Jewish people in the area around Markowa. Deportations began, first to labour camps, and then to extermination camps as part of Operation Reinhardt (perhaps better known as the Final Solution, or in Jewish memory as The Shoah, or holocaust).
As the Nazi roundups and mass murders of Jewish people in the community intensified relentlessly, the Ulma family helped build shelters on the outskirts of town, and ultimately hid eight people in their attic, an act of quiet heroism which has immortalised them in Polish memory.
Betrayed in 1944, the two Jewish families they were sheltering were summarily massacred, along with Józef, the pregnant Wiktoria, and all their children. Witnesses were forced to watch, as an example to the other villagers about the consequences of helping Jewish neighbours.
The Righteous is thus a story about memory: the memory which survivors of atrocities owe to those who did not survive, to those witnesses still with us, and to the generations to come.
It is also a story about forgetting, about the way that memory slips and fades intangibly from our grasp as the last living memories of witnesses of terrible atrocities fade into the preserve of historical record.
For all of us, amidst the mental load of the ever-increasing complexity of our times, the Ulma family serve as a reference point for standing up for what is right, and for human decency in the face of great evil, no matter what the cost.
Duration: about 70 min (no interval)
THE PLAY IS PRESENTED IN THE ORIGINAL POLISH, WITH LIVE ACCOMPANYING ENGLISH SUBTITLES TO MAKE THIS PERFORMANCE ACCESSIBLE TO ALL
Presented with much gratitude for the financial assistance of the Marshall of the Podkarpacie Province of Poland.
Tickets via Eventrbite here: