In Jedwabne, Bones of Pogrom Victims Are Reburied

Dozens gather at ceremony marking 72nd anniversary of massacre in Poland town.

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Polish performance artist Rafal Betlejemski burning down a barn to commemorate the Jedwabne pogrom.
Polish performance artist Rafal Betlejemski burning down a barn to commemorate the Jedwabne pogrom. Credit: Reuters

The remains of victims from the Jedwabne pogrom were reburied Wednesday at a ceremony marking the 72nd anniversary of the massacre in the Polish town. Dozens of people gathered at the site in Jedwabne where Poles murdered hundreds of their Jewish neighbors on July 10, 1941.

Polish Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich and Piotr Kadlcik, the president of the Union of Jewish Communities in Poland, along with Isaac Lewin, who as a child survived the massacre, buried the remains provided by the Polish Institute of National Remembrance and the Museum of World War II.

In 2001, during the exhumation of the mass grave, bones of some of the victims were found, as were some of their belongings.

“This is doubly important,” Kadlcik said. “They are coming back here, but it is also a symbol of some changes that are taking place. A few years ago, after cleaning the items, these remains would have been probably thrown away. Now there is no doubt that they should be buried in this place.”

Names of the victims were read during the ceremony. The Rev. Wojciech Lemanski, a Catholic priest who makes an annual visit to Jedwabne, drew up the list of names.

“It’s as if they came here to us at this place,” Lemanski said, “Not as the Jews of Jedwabne, victims of mass murder, but as our neighbors, parents, brothers.”

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