(ZENIT News / Marcowa, 05.09.2023).- The entire Ulm family, including the new-born baby, will be beatified on Sunday, September 10, in Poland. The Nazis murdered this Catholic family for giving shelter to several Jews persecuted by Nazism. At the moment of the murder, the baby was still in his mother’s womb, but was born shortly before dying.
Wiktoria Ulm, his mother, was in the seventh month of her pregnancy. A witness saw her body placed in a coffin, noting the head and chest of the baby issuing from her womb. Others said that his small head could be seen between his mother’s thighs.
The Church is beatifying the new-born child also pointing out that he received a Baptism of blood. Pope Francis was told about this family during his pilgrimage to Poland in 2016 . During an audience in 2018, he praised the family as an “example of fidelity to God and to His Commandments of love of neighbour and respect for human dignity.”
The Ulms were very humble farmers. The family included the father, Josef, 44 and the mother, Wiktoria, 32, who was in the seventh month of her pregnancy; Stasia, 7; Basia, 6; Wladziu, 5; Franio, 4; Antos, 3; and Marysua, 2.
The new-born child is considered a martyr by the Church dying out of hatred of the Faith (odium fidei) in Marcowa, a small Polish town on the border with Ukraine. Father Witold Burda, Postulator of the Cause of Beatification and priest of the Archdiocese of Przemyśl of the Latins, explained it thus to Vatican Radio: “The Church is full of theological arguments that have helped us to demonstrate to theologians of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints that, even a new-born child, without Baptism or a name, can be considered a martyr for the faith of Christ.
According to Yad Vashem the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, the couple witnessed the execution of the Jews taken from their houses in the summer of 1942. The Police found a Jewish family of six members sheltered in the Ulms’ house, together with two sisters of another Jewish family, hiding in the farm attic. The German Police discovered the Jews in the farm possibly due to a hate complaint. They shot the Jews and then murdered Josef and Wiktoria, pregnant, and their children.
Father Burda said about the martyrs that they were “Spouses who built their life on solid foundations of faith. Every year thousands of pilgrims go to their tomb. The Ulms implemented the parable of the Good Samaritan as a commitment of Christian life.
On the arrival of the Nazi Police, Viktoria had the first contractions due to the tension, although she was murdered immediately. The baby was able to be born but also died. The Dicastery for the Causes of Saints made this clear through a communication received by ZENIT on Tuesday, September 5. The note specifies three things: ‘1. At the moment of the murder, Mrs Wiktoria Ulm was in an advanced state of gestation of her seventh child; 2. That child was given birth at the moment of his mother’s martyrdom. 3. Hence he was added to the number of children who were also martyred. In fact, in the martyrdom of his parents he received the Baptism of blood.”
A research book written by Polish priest Pawel Rytel-Andrianik and Italian journalist Manuela Tulli, entitled “They Also Killed Children. The Ulms, the Martyr Family that Helped the Jews” [Tambien Mataron Niños. Gli Ulma, la Famiglia Martire che Aiuto gli Ebrei] testimony of the power of the Word of God in defense of all. The beatification of the unborn baby calls for reflection on the value of life, including unborn life.
The Beatification ceremony will be presided over by Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints.