Changed Atmosphere: Two Polish families in Jedwabne pose around an empty chair with a kip- pah on it, symbolizing the vanished Jewish presence in their town, where as many as 1,600 Jews were massacred during World War II by their Polish neighbors.

Polish Locals, Jews Commemorate Jedwabne Pogrom

The 1941 pogrom in Jedwabne was commemorated by representatives of the Jewish community and local residents, at the site of the atrocity in Poland.

“I’m lucky to meet in Poland very good people, the righteous and those who do a lot for Jewish history and culture,” Israeli Ambassador to Poland Anna Azari said at Friday’s ceremony. “We need to look in the mirror of history and remember what is good and what is bad. Some say that the book by Jan Tomasz Gross, ‘Neighbors,’ or movies such as ‘Ida’ and ‘Aftermath’ are bad for the image of Poland. I think that it is not true. Authors like them are an honor for good and democratic Poland.”

During the ceremony Yitzhak Levin, an Israeli whose roots are from Jedwabne, said the Jewish mourner’s prayer Kaddish, and Polish Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich read Psalm 23 and the El Malei Rachamim prayer.

On July 10, 1941, dozens of residents of the Polish town murdered hundreds of their Jewish neighbors. Most of the victims were burned alive in a barn. The massacre was one of several that summer committed by ordinary Poles against Jews.

Anna Chipczynska, president of the Jewish Community of Warsaw, stressed that the sites of mass murder are inviolable, in connection to exhumation of a mass grave in Wasosz, located 100 miles east of Warsaw, the site of a mass attack in September 1941 on its Jewish community, planned for this fall by the Institute of National Remembrance.

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Polish Locals, Jews Commemorate Jedwabne Pogrom

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