The recipients were Julia Dąbrowska and her mother Gabriela Elżanowska; Władysława Fiks; Franciszek Jankowski; Karol Koźmiński, whose family rescued 21 Jews and whose son was sent to Auschwitz as a result; Józef Łysiak; Maria Morawska; Franciszek and Zofia Paśniczek; and Bolesław Szymańczyk.
David Peleg, the Ambassador of Israel in Poland, presented the medals.
The Righteous among the Nations of the World medal is the highest honor that can be given to people who are not citizens of Israel. A panel at the Yad Vashem Memorial Institute in Jerusalem must approve each award. The medal bears the Talmud text "Whoever saves one life, saves the whole world."
Over 20 thousand of the medals have been awarded, with Poles receiving over 6 thousand, more than any other group.
Besides President Kaczyński, the ceremony was attended by the speakers of the Polish sejm (parliament) and senate, Marek Jurek and Bogdan Borusewicz, respectively, and Polish Foreign Minister Anna Fotyga.
As President Kaczyński remarked, their presence was "no accident." Rather, he said, "it is evidence of the role we accord to relations between Poland and Israel. It is also proof of our respect for those of our compatriots who showed supreme valor during the Second World War by risking not only their own lives but, to precisely the same extent, the lives of their whole families."
"I wish sincerely to thank today's recipients, their children, and their grandchildren," Kaczyński continued, "for their steadfastness."
Peleg and Kaczyński spoke about the shared history of the two peoples.
President Kaczyński pointed out that people of Jewish ethnicity or ancestry made up 10 to 13 percent of the army that opposed the Nazi aggression of September 1939. He also reminded those present that one in every ten of the Polish officers and police murdered at Katyń was a Polish Jew.
"These are facts of which both our peoples should be cognizant," he said. "For my part, I intend to do everything to see that these facts, insufficiently known in our country, become familiar."