Kadr z filmu „Po Apokalipsie”. Fot. Dom Spotkań z Historią/Wolskie Centrum Kultury


The Garden of the Righteous in Warsaw was created in 2014 at the Jerzy Jur-Gorzechowski square in the Wola District. Each year, three trees to commemorate the people selected by the Committee of the Garden are being planted during a formal ceremony. The Committee comprises distinguished personalities from the educational and cultural milieus.  

Each year, the Committee of the Garden of the Righteous in Warsaw strives to select people whose attitudes may serve as an example for others. The Committee commemorates people’s deeds rather than their biographies. The Righteous are a mirror in which the evil they had the courage to stand up to is reflected. The names of the awarded are announced by the Committee on 6 March, during the ceremony on the occasion of the European Day of Remembrance for the Righteous, established by the European Parliament in 2012.

The people who have been honoured in the Garden so far are: Władysław Bartoszewski, Marek Edelman, Natalia Gorbaniewska, Magdalena Grodzka-Gużkowska, Petro Hryhorenko, Jan Jelinek, Jan Karski, Roberto Kozak, Antonia Locetelli, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, Nelson Mandela, Hasan Mazhar, Witold Pilecki, Anna Politkowska and Rev. Jan Zieja.

Zbigniew Gluza, Chair of the Committee:

Decision of the European Parliament to grant the term ‘Righteous’ a universal meaning signifies an attempt to establish a set of values valid for people of different nations, faiths and worldviews – people who consider human rights as more important than the rights of a nation, or an ideology. […]

The idea of entwining the globe with a network of Gardens of the Righteous, created to honour attitudes of people who protected dignity and life of men in totalitarian systems or at times of mass crimes (such as in Armenia, Cambodia or Ruanda), originated at the Italian Gariwo Foundation, and since the inception it has drawn response also in Poland. At the History Meeting House in Warsaw, the energy of the Italian prime movers merged with the activity of Polish milieus, convinced that, in the face of totalitarian domination at the time, extolling the people who opposed the injustice must become a major value. […]

Honouring the „attitude of goodness” has been inspired by the Garden of the Righteous in Jerusalem, created on the initiative of Moshe Bejski in order to pay homage to those who helped Jews during the Holocaust. Thus, the Holocaust has become an ultimate measure of evil brought about by decades of the ideology. […]

Jews honour the Righteous Among the Nations with gratitude. Their Garden in Jerusalem is a way of saying ‘thank you’ for the past good deeds. It is a gesture of the wronged nation towards the few individuals from other nations who extended their helping hand to them. The consistent Israeli action became so spectacular, and so powerful to the mind, that the term ‘Righteous’ has, with time, acquired a more general sense, becoming a contemporary measure of humanity. European Parliament’s decision of May 2012 did not infringe on the Israeli rule, but rather – by referring to it – attested to the rule defying international divisions, and moving towards the ‘universal’ rank. The new Gardens will be an example of modern day attitudes. […]

It is not about building a Pantheon, or listing „all the worthy people”, but rather about reaching out to the individuals whose attitudes – given the context of events and the nature of the deeds – become a model, a point of reference for the mass consciousness. […]

”Our” Righteous are not better than other Righteous, they do not chase fame or glory. In fact, they are not important in themselves, but rather as a mirror in which the evil they opposed is reflected. It is the evil of Communism, Nazism, and many other murderous regimes which emerged in the world thus proving that „the history never ends.”  […]

We are a group that was commissioned a task and is now striving to fulfil it the best we can. We do not aspire to become an Oracle. We hold discussion while seeking a consensus. We are open to debate on the criteria used while naming the Righteous. It is of utmost importance that we all believe that people represented in the Garden indeed contributed to bringing about a unity and as such deserve our collective acknowledgement. Each person defied evil, and each symbolizes hope that the evil will never recur again.