mass grave - AP - 7.6.07
A mass grave of Jews slaughtered during the Holocaust. Photo by AP
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Recent research has discovered the murders of Jews in three Polish villages during the Holocaust that were carried out by locals.

One discovery has shown that twenty Jewish women were murdered in a small village after being “loaned” to Polish landowners by a nearby ghetto for agricultural labor. According to the Polish Institute of National Remembrance and Polish attorneys, the murders took place in 1941 in Bzury, a town in northeast Poland.

There is no certainty around whether the murderers are alive today, or whether it will be possible to locate and convict them. Public Attorney Radoslaw Igniatew, one of the leading researchers of the infamous Jedwabne pogrom, believes there is a fair chance of at least locating witnesses who, at the time the acts took place, were minors, which would likely shed light on details of the crime. According to Igniatew, there is no doubt that those who carried out the acts were Poles.

From documentation that was preserved since the rise of communism in Poland - in 8194 - and were scanned by Professor Barbara Enkelking of the Polish Academy of Science, who has been dealing with matters like these for many years, it is evident that one of the murderers was, in his time, sentenced to life imprisonment. He perished in 1957. Enkelking also discovered that the murderers were rebuked by the Germans over the fact they did not return the women to the ghetto, as per their agreement.

“There is no doubt that this was a pre-planned crime,” Igniatew explained to the press. “When the Jews were sent out to work, farmers ordered their weapons - clubs with iron heads - from the local blacksmith. Those clubs were used to beat the women all over their bodies until the last beating: a deadly blow to the head.”

“Mass graves were dug in the forest, into which the corpses were thrown. Some of the victims were raped before being killed,” he continued.

Igniatew said he could not explain the motivations for the murders, but that it was clear those men would not dare carry out such an act against Polish women. “As for Jews – everything was allowed and acceptable, and no one would be punished.”

Meanwhile, an investigation is underway at the Bialystok branch of Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance into two pogroms that took place in that region in the summer of 1941. In the town of Radzilow, local Jews were gathered in the market square and lead by townspeople to a granary, which was subsequently set alight. An estimated 1,000 men were killed in the flames.

Another investigation is also being carried out into the murder of Jews in Wąsosz, where townspeople, inspired by the Nazis, killed about 100 of their Jewish neighbors. The State Attorney intends on digging up the corpses from their graves in order to assess the cause of death.