"Our compatriots, the Polish people, gave others very much hope of survival", said Beata Szydlo.
"The Germans decided to annihilate the Jews, Polish people and other nations but there were some Righteous who opposed them", Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo said Sunday during an international conference on Polish people who saved Jews during the German occupation.
"There were some Righteous who, thanks to love, managed to oppose it. They sacrificed a great deal, whole families were killed, children were killed in front of their parents", the head of government said in Torun.
She went on to say that those who had sacrificed themselves, gave their lives for others and proved how important love could be. "All those surnames are a statement of love and truth, love of a person to a person, hard love that had to pass a great test", the PM said.
"All those people proved it during the time of evil (...) when a hand was raised against innocent people to carry out the mad plans of a nation which should have understood and thought about the future of Europe, which should have been the one that built that future with others".
Poland was the only country in the German-occupied Europe, where aiding citizens of Jewish descent carried death penalty, still most trees planted at Yad Vashem to commemorate those who saved Jews during the war are dedicated to Polish people. In all, out of 26,000 Righteous Among the Nations worldwide, more than 6,700 come from Poland.
The Torun conference "Memory and Hope" was organised by the St John Paul II Institute "Memory and Identity", From the Depths Foundation and Torun's Higher School for Social and Media Culture.
It was preceded by a special holy mass and featured Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, Senate (upper house) Speaker Stanislaw Karczewski, deputy Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Interior Minister Mariusz Blaszczak, Holocaust survivors who witnessed the heroism of the Polish people, representatives of the Israeli government and parliament, as well as other Polish government officials, lawmakers and local government representatives.