Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford and Deputy Consul General of the Republic of Poland Robert Rusiecki opened an exhibit Monday July 16, in Chicago's James R. Thompson Center to honor the Polish Righteous Among the Nations, a group of men and women who helped save Jewish people from the Nazis during World War II.
The exhibit is titled "Righteous Among the Nations - Help of Polish people for the Jewish population in Malopolska Province in the years 1939-1945." The exhibit is sponsored by Poland's Institute of National Remembrance and is being co-presented at the Thompson Center thanks to cooperation between the Polish Consul General Zygmunt Matynia and Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford.
This exhibit is to commemorate the Polish Righteous Among the Nations from southern Poland during World War II who demonstrated extraordinary courage and risked their own lives - and the lives of their families - to rescue Jewish men, women and children from extermination by the Nazis. The exhibit is a tribute to the rescuers who by saving a single life saved entire generations.
Polish citizens were the only people in the entire Nazi-occupied territory who - along with their families - were punished by death for helping Jewish people. Over 19,000 people worldwide have been honored by the State of Israel as the Righteous Among the Nations for saving Jewish lives from the Holocaust, and more than 6,300 were Polish citizens, the highest number from any country.
Some may find various images of the exhibit disturbing, but the message the exhibit carries is overwhelmingly positive. It will be displayed for the week of July 16-20, and is located in the ground level atrium of the James R. Thompson Center, 100 West Randolph Street, Chicago.