The Ulma family were executed by the Germans in March 1944 for hiding Jews. The family consisted of Józef and Wiktoria Ulm and their seven children. Six of the children were aged between six months and eight years. Wiktoria was carrying the seventh child when the family was killed.
This is the first case in the history of the Catholic Church where an unborn child undergoes the process of beatification and is cited as a martyr.
This will be an inspiration to all Catholics praying for unborn children killed as a result of abortions. Over a billion children have been killed in this way, and it may be time for them to be recognized as part of the church. The case of the Ulm family is significant in that context.
This beatification would not have been possible without Pope John Paul II’s decision to widen the criteria for recognizing martyrdom to include those who gave their life in defense of other human beings, and not just in defense of the faith. It is because of this widening of the definition of martyrdom that Father Maximilian Kolbe, who gave his life to save another prisoner in Auschwitz, was recognized as a saint.
The beatification of the Ulma family is also possible because of the widened definition of martyrdom. They shielded refugees from the ghettos knowing full well that the consequences of their deeds could be death.
They did this because of their faith and belief that helping others was to help Christ. This is why their sacrifice is now recognized as martyrdom by the Church.